Back when it was the peak of the problems that the infamous Coronavirus Disease 2019 (COVID-19), many people received some type of cash and financial aid from the government. The wide majority of which were the poorest of the poor whom received the cash aid from the Department of Social Welfare and Development (DSWD) — it was also more known as the Social Amelioration Program or SAP.
This, however, sparked an issue with middle-class families and workers saying that since they are paying their taxes, they should also receive some type of cash assistance, too. There were Philippine government officials that had discussions about this thoroughly; Governor Jonvic Remulla of Cavite is one.
Read More Here: President Rodrigo Duterte Promises to Help the Middle Class, Too
Financial Assistance to Middle-Class Families
The Governor sent an open letter to Duterte about how middle-class families should receive some type of cash or financial aid too. This was then agreed upon by our President, saying that they’ll be providing the assistance they were looking for.
However, Senator Cynthia Villar resisted the financial aid to middle-class families, saying that they’re taking away what is should be only for the poorest of the poor. Furthermore, she explained that since these middle-class workers and families are receiving their salaries, they should not be a part of the SAP that is distributed by the DSWD.
Inquiring to the DSWD
Following this, she posed a question to the Department of Social Welfare and Development about the families that were a part of the list included in the SAP. Originally, this stipend should have been provided only to the poorest of the poor; this should have been given only to people who are under the “no work, no pay” scheme.
She asked Rolando Bautista, the Secretary fo the DSWD to explain and to give their insight as to how they came up with the beneficiaries list. In response, he answered that the Local Government Units (LGUs) were the ones tasked to identify these; it is because they’re more knowledgeable on the status of the families living in each barangay.
In the course of the Senate hearing, the Senator stated that the government has allotted this financial aid to help about 18 million poor households in the country. She said that this totaled 82 percent of the country’s population; but because of the assistance to middle-class workers, the aid only went to the 59 percent out of the 82 percent that was originally scheduled for it.
Yung 82 percent, kasama na doon ang middle class. May trabaho sila, na kahit lockdown pinasusweldo sila ng gobyerno at pinasusweldo ng mga private companies. Bakit sila pa ang bibigyan ng SAP? Eh may sweldo sila, mapalad sila may sweldo sila.”
In Translation: The 82 percent covered by the SAP includes the middle class already. But they have work; even if we’re under the lockdown, they’re being given their salaries by the government, as well as their private companies. Why should they receive the SAP if they have salaries being given by their companies as well as the government? They are even lucky that they’re already being paid.
Businesses losing money
The fact that she resisted the financial the financial assistance to middle-class families, she said that several, if not all businesses are losing money because they are paying their employees even if they’re not getting any type of service.
She continued to say that she cannot accept those numbers; because the poorest of the poor are being deprived of the help that they need because middle-class families and workers are also included in the financial assistance.
Hindi ko ma-accept ang numbers na yon kasi nade-deprive ang mahihirap dahil binibigyan pati ang middle class.”
In Translation: I can’t accept those number because the poor is being deprived because the allowance is shared with the middle class.
Villar apologizes for her statement
After the brief statement about the fact that Senator Cynthia Villar resisted the financial assistance to middle-class families, she apologized to whoever she has offended with her statement.
She follows this up with the statement that she duly recognizes the contribution that these middle-class workers have made in the country.
In addition to that, she said that this statement was not, in any way, meant to offend hard working middle class workers in the Philippines. In fact, she said that she is looking after for the welfare of middle class families.
My statements during the hearing yesterday was not in any manner meant to be an affront to the hardworking middle class of the country. I might have framed my questions and statements in such a manner that made it seem I was insensitive to the plight of the middle income sector. I am NOT. I am concerned and I lookout for the welfare of the middle income workers. If I have offended anyone with my statements, I humbly apologize.”
What do you think about the fact that Senator Cynthia Villar resisted the financial assistance to middle-class families? Do you think that it’s a right and just act?