By Wilnard Bacelonia

(File photo)

MANILA – Senator Sonny Angara is committed to push for the continued grant of “ayuda” (aid) to support the sectors still feeling the impacts of the Covid-19 pandemic.

Amid the ongoing bicameral conference on the 2023 General Appropriations Bill (GAB), Angara said the Senate proposed targeted assistance unlike what was provided during the height of the pandemic.

Ang hangarin natin ay mabigyan ng targeted ayuda para sa ilang sektor tulad ng ating mga health care worker, magsasaka, mangingisda, mga operator at drayber ng public utility vehicles, sa ating mga senior citizen, mga nawalan ng trabaho at pati na din ang pinakamahihirap nating mga kababayan (We want to give targeted aid to some sectors like health care workers, farmers, fisherfolk, the transport sector, senior citizens, those who lost their jobs, and the poor),” Angara said in a statement.

The chair of the Committee on Finance said it is unsustainable to grant cash dole outs the same way the government did during the period of lockdowns as there are not enough funds due to decline in revenue collections.

Angara also vowed that the Social Pension for Indigent Senior Citizens, including the 100 percent increase from PHP500 to PHP1,000 that was granted under Republic Act 11916 when it lapsed into law on July 30, will be funded next year.

The funding for Medical Assistance to Indigent and Financially-Incapacitated Patients was also increased under the proposed 2023 budget.

Siniguro natin na lahat ng Pilipino, ano man ang kanilang estado sa buhay, ay mabibigyan ng karampatang serbisyong medikal tuwing sila ay may sakit (We made sure that all Filipinos, whatever is their status in life, will be given proper medical service when they are sick),” Angara said.

Marikina (2nd District) Representative Stella Quimbo, vice chair of the Committee on Appropriations, said the Marcos administration’s plan on expanding aid programs would hasten economic turnaround, coupled with the country’s gross domestic product growth of 7.6 percent in the third quarter.

President Ferdinand R. Marcos Jr.’s economic managers are eyeing to provide PHP206.50 billion worth of subsidies and cash aid under the proposed national budget to support vulnerable sectors amid surging commodity prices.

Congress targets to close the bicameral conference with the ratification of the 2023 GAB on Dec. 5. (PNA)