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  • Help Sought For The Middle Class: 'Those Living In Gated Villages Are Barely Surviving'

    Middle-income families are often overlooked in a crisis
    by Lei Dimarucut-Sison .
Help Sought For The Middle Class: 'Those Living In Gated Villages Are Barely Surviving'
PHOTO BY @Weedezign/iStock
  • In a crisis, such as the one we are going through now, it is usually the poor who are hardest hit, thus, majority of the efforts both of the private sector and the government are directed towards them.

    In the Bayanihan To Heal As One Act, or Republic Act 11469, which was passed into law to address the COVID-19 crisis, low-income households are to receive a Php5,000 to Php8,000 cash assistance in April and in May, 2020. The money will come from the Php275 billion emergency fund alloted for this purpose. 

    In particular, this social amelioration program will benefit families with members who are senior citizens, who have disabilities, single parents, the homeless, distressed OFWs, pregnant women, and indigenous people.

    Casual employees, subcontracted workers, home workers, house helpers, and drivers will also receive help from the government, as will farm workers, farmers, and fisherfolk.

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    Lauding the government's efforts, Cavite Governor Jonvic Remulla appealed to President Rodrigo Duterte to also consider the welfare of the middle-class Filipinos in providing amelioration packages.

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    In an open letter to the President on his Facebook page, Remulla makes a case for his constituents who belong to the middle class and why they should also receive cash assistance from the government.

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    "The Covid-19 pandemic has hit my province hard. Despite that I am not asking for anything to be given to the local government. We can fend for ourselves, but not everybody can," he wrote.

    "I write to you today to appeal for the middle class. I come from a province that is over 70% migrants. People who have climbed their way up in life: buying a house on mortgage; sending their children through college; having a their 1st car or motorcycle on a 5 year instalment basis. 

    "300,000 of them work in manila. 400,000 directly (factory workers) and indirectly (feeding, clothing, driving, retailing) from our economic zones."

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    Remulla said that though the middle class are not hard-up, they are also struggling to make ends meet, and could use some assistance from the government. 

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    "In the past 3 weeks most have depleted their savings. Families of 8 stay in housing units 24 to 40 square meters small. Cramped as they are, they are generally optimistic people. Despite all that, they are hurting.

    "As grand as their gated villages sound, they are middle class people who see their pay checks every month deducted of their SSS, GSIS, Pag-ibig and salary loans, and the largest part — income taxes.

    "It is a time of crisis for everyone. Not just the poorest of the poor, but also those who have built much but not enough. They wait for the LGU’s to give them relief goods but those come few and far in between. They scrimp and pawn and borrow. They are barely surviving.

    "As governor, I am respectfully asking that you consider them to be part of the social amelioration program. They may not get as much as the poorest of the poor but please consider their welfare. They are often over looked. They pay the most taxes. They keep our economy alive. They are mostly law abiding citizens. They need a break."

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    In his address to the nation last night, April 6, 2020, President Duterte said Remulla's appeal was valid, agreeing that middle-class families also need financial help. He said the government is working doubly hard so it could also provide for the middle-income households.

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