Where is the people’s money?
The P200-billion financial aid allocated by Duterte regime is not only insufficient but its coverage is also limited. This was exposed during the regime’s first batch of distribution of the P5,000-P8,000 aid to appease the hunger and poverty caused by the militarist lockdown. To make do with the budget, the regime imposed a quota system on local government units.
In Valenzuela, the aid coverage is limited to only 95,000 families or 61% of the total 155,000 families residing in the city. The city mayor griped against how the DSWD identify beneficiaries and asked how the other 60,000 families will survive without aid.
In other cities in the National Capital Region (NCR), less than half of the total number of families will be given aid. In Manila, for instance, only 185,000 (43%) out of 435,237 will receive aid; and 77,764 (49%) out of 160,000 in Parañaque.
The situation is even worse in provinces outside NCR. Local officials are now struggling to bridge the large gap.
They are asserting that all families and not just the poor are affected by the month-long lockdown and need aid and compensation. Many workers and employees, whether regular or contractual, lost their sources of income and jobs. They have no other means to source funds but from the subsidy being distributed by government.
Data by the reactionary government indicate that only P100 billion was distributed by DSWD as of April 3. Around P100 million was allocated to DOLE to aid workers who lost their jobs; and another P100 million to DOH to aid patients with various illnesses. DOST was given P52 million for the production of test kits. Meanwhile, almost the same amount (P52.3 million) was allocated to the PNP under vague terms. If summed up, these allocations are already more than half of the P275 billion promised by Duterte.
The people have been waiting for proper aid and compensation for more than two weeks now. Many are already going hungry. They are enraged at the slow distribution of aid especially since Duterte used this as a pretext to demand that he be granted emergency powers. Duterte is putting the blame on local officials and are accusing them of corruption and being slow. However, the people clearly see that it is Duterte and his military-led Inter-agency Task Force that who are inutile and incapable of handling the current public health crisis.