Finance Secretary Benjamin Diokno. (INQUIRER FILE PHOTO)
MANILA, Philippines — Finance Secretary Benjamin Diokno should try living on P570 daily to have a better grasp of the “real situation” among the poor, a group said on Tuesday after he said that COVID-19-related aid should be cut from next year’s budget.
While agreeing with Diokno that “full mobility” has returned in the country amid the pandemic and its effects have slightly slowed down, Eufemia Doringo, secretary general of urban poor group Kalipunan ng Damayang Mahihirap, said that many remain affected by the economic impacts of COVID-19.
“For almost three years we have been facing this pandemic due to the government’s failed response; we are still reeling from this crisis,” Doringo told the Inquirer.
Although many have returned to work, other factors continue to affect the masses, including the spiraling prices of oil and basic commodities.
“So for us, if Secretary Diokno wants to see the real situation, he should remove all the benefits he has and have a budget of P570 a day, wherein he also has to pay for electricity, water and even rent,” Doringo said. “They really don’t know how we’re doing.”
The Department of Social Welfare and Development (DSWD) has yet to say whether it had been informed beforehand of Diokno’s stand.
Doringo, however, was hopeful that Social Welfare Secretary Erwin Tulfo would push for the inclusion of cash assistance, especially to the poor, in next year’s budget.
“I think the DSWD secretary would know the situation, considering how many lined up for its educational assistance program,” she said.
No more COVID-related ‘ayuda’ in 2023 budget
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