Third round of subsidy for the poor proposed

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    VICE President Leni Robredo yesterday called for another round of government subsidy for indigents to discourage them from going out of their homes and exposing themselves to the COVID-19 virus.

    Robredo said the number of infected persons will continue to rise for as long as the people have nothing to eat.

    “Sumunod nalang kasi kayo (Just follow). Madali lang ito sabihin (It’s easy to say) if you are speaking from a position of privilege. Pero kung wala ka nang ipapakain sa pamilya mo, lalabas ka pa din kahit nakakatakot (But if you have nothing to feed your family, you will still go out even if there is the risk of contamination),” Robredo said in a Facebook post.

    The Vice President said some government officials have been blaming the public, including those who go out of their homes on a regular basis to report for work or engage in other income-generating activities, for the huge rise in the number of COVID-19 cases without realizing that many of them are risking their lives to feed their families.

    Quarantine restrictions were eased all over the country when cases started to decrease during the last quarter of 2020. In recent weeks, however, cases started to surge again, with 7,999 new cases reported last Saturday, the highest number of cases reported in one day since the pandemic hit the country.

    As a control measure, localized lockdowns have been imposed in various barangays in Metro Manila where reported cases were high. Yesterday, the government issued stricter guidelines on people movement and limited travel to and from Metro Manila, Laguna, Cavite, Rizal and Bulacan.

    Robredo said a stimulus package is needed, particularly cash aid, for those who have lost their jobs and sources of income because all previous financial assistance measures were not enough, referring to those released under Bayanihans 1 and 2.

    “Magandang halimbawa dito ang Malaysia (Malaysia is a good example here). Naging sobrang masama din ‘yung cases nila (Their cases also became really bad) when they started to reopen. But they were able to arrest the situation. Maraming ginawa to achieve this, isa doon, anim na stimulus packages ‘yung naibigay nila (Many things were done to achieve this and one of it was the six stimulus packages that they gave),” Robredo said.

    She urged the administration to consider her suggestions and not to take it the wrong way, saying the country’s problem “is huge and we have to deal with this collectively.”

    The government has yet to spend the remaining 25 percent of the P165 billon-worth second stimulus package but some congressmen have already called for another P420 billion stimulus measure to boost the financial capacity of the government to better address the COVID-19 pandemic.