The P200 monthly subsidy was recommended by the Department of Finance and oks by President Rodrigo Duterte instead of suspending the fuel excise taxes due to skyrocketing oil price hikes. This drew several criticisms from other government officials.
According to Bayan-Secretary-General Renato Reyes, the said subsidy will not suffice for basic commodities and will not relieve the burdens of the targeted recipients.
On the other hand, Sen. Grace Poe said that the cash aid is a “pittance”, a rough P6.66 daily out of the P200 subsidy is not even sufficient for a jeepney fare. She hoped the government to rethink about suspending the fuel excise taxes.
Sen. Francis Pangilinan expressed his sentiment saying that if the government will lower the prices of fuel products, majority of his fellow will benefit which would somehow alleviate their distress.
Presidential aspirant Manny Paquiao commented in an interview that the P200 subsidy a month is not enough. “If that is only what the government can give, then why not? But if the government has enough funds, then why not give more?”
Moreover, House Deputy Speaker and Bagong Henerasyon (BH) Party-list Rep. Bernadette Herrera also give her take. “The P200 monthly subsidy may be too small, but we believe it is better than nothing. This will somehow ease the burden of rapidly increasing fuel prices on poor households.”
Meanwhile, acting presidential spokesman, Martin Andanar, refuted in a statement, “we can only give what we can because if we exceed, we will have to borrow again.”
Who are covered in the subsidy?
A recommended P33.1 billion by the DOF will be allotted to the “bottom 50 percent of all Filipino households” which pertains to the 4P’s beneficiaries.
“This is in addition to the amount 4Ps beneficiaries are already getting under the 4Ps program,” Martin Andanar clarified.
As of February 28, 2022, 4.2 million families are 4Ps recipients, according to Andanar. They receive P6,000 per year for health and nutrition expenses, or P500 per month per household, as well as P3,000 for one school year.
As per Finance Secretary Carlos Dominguez III, some 12 million poor households will benefit from the monthly subsidy which will be conducted for a year.
The DOF also mentioned that if the government will waive the fuel taxes, it will lose some P138.8 billion in revenue in just a year.
Further, higher income household are approximately 49 percent in terms of fuel consumption while the lower-income families accounts to 13.8 percent only, the agency added.
When will the subsidy be distributed?
According to Andanar, the administration plans to begin distributing the subsidy this March, and the Department of Social Welfare and Development would be the ideal organization to do it.
“The DSWD is in-charge of the 4Ps so it’s best to ask them how would this be distributed,” Andanar added.
“Once we have downloaded the amount worth P33 billion, we will immediately start and we are targeting to start this month,” he explained.
Source: ABS-CBN News, Manila Bulletin
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