The House of Representatives (HOR) Ways and Means Committee chairperson Joey Salceda proposed an approach to the distribution of aid so all Filipinos, except the top 10% earners, receive emergency cash assistance during the COVID-19 health crisis.
Cong. Salceda calls it the Universal Basic Income (UBI) where the cash aid each Filipino receives is based on the amount of money he earns. The distribution can be simpler and more straightforward.
“Yung basic income po, madali kasi lahat pasok puwera patay, puwera mayaman,” the Albay representative told GMA News. The only qualifications are citizenship and income, so there’s no room for politics, Salceda stressed.
The congressman proposed UBI to President Rodrigo Duterte already. He hopes the government will consider it for the next distribution of aid during the quarantine period.
Currently, the Department of Social Welfare and Development (DSWD) is in the process of giving out cash aid only to marginalized Filipinos affected by the now-extended enhaned community quarantine.
These are members of the Pantawid Pampamilyang Pilipino Program (4Ps) and citizens who qualify for the Social Amelioration Program (SAP), which include senior citizens, persons with disabilities, solo parents, pregnant women, women who just gave birth, breastfeeding women, overseas Filipino workers in distress, and informal workers.
“Essentially, you distribute P1,000 to P2,000 per head. Bale ang eligibility lang po, basta Pilipino ka at hindi ka mayaman, makakatanggap ka ng tulong,” Salceda explained and added that his approach is more “human-centered.”
“Kapag maraming maghahati-hati sa isang household, maliit ang P5,000. Kaya maganda ang basic income per person approach. Because food intake is per person,” he said.
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The UBI also does away with overlaps. If a household has both a senior citizen and a person with disabilities, two qualifications to receive aid from the current Social Amelioration Program, both members will still receive assistance.
Salceda estimated giving out P1,000 to P2,000 would cost approximately P200 billion to cover 90% of Filipinos. It’s also more manageable for the government to track where the money goes.
The City of Manila is already distributing P1,000 cash aid to all families in the city. Apart from receiving relief goods, all familes will receive the money through its City Amelioration Crisis Assistance Fund (CACAP) 2020. Barangay captains or treasurers are designated to distribute it, prioritizing families who have not received relief goods.
In Angeles, Pampanga, each senior citizen will receive Php1,000 on top of the vitamins they will also receive from the LGU and cash aid from the national government’s SAP.