Government studies suggestion to extend cash aid to ‘middle class’

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“Wala pa po. Pinag-aaralan pa po,” Cabinet Secretary Karlo Nograles said when asked if a decision has been made regarding the suggestion to extend cash aid to the middle class or middle income earners, during a virtual presser of the Inter-Agency Task Force for the Management of Emerging Infectious Diseases (IATF-EID) on April 8.

Nograles indicated that several questions need to be answered. “What are the factors that it would consider in coming up with the decision? Ayaw ko pong pangunahan. How can the government ensure that helping the middle class will not hamper the distribution of aid to the poor?”

“Iyong para sa mga mahihirap, marginalized na informal sector workers, sila po sa Social Amelioration Program po sila; iyong sa middle income or middle class po natin, ibang programa po iyon. So hiwalay po kaya hindi maaapektuhan iyong budget natin para sa ating mga mahihirap na kababayan,” he explained.

When asked if a new law is needed if financial aid will be extended to the middle class, Nograles said a new law is not needed to provide assistance to the middle class, but it would be different from the Social Amelioration Program which is specific for the 18 million low income families under the Bayanihan To Heal As One Act.

“Hindi na po kailangan ng bagong batas. I think perusing through the law ‘no… ng Bayanihan To Heal As One Act, I think it’s extensive enough to cover or look for a solution to this problem ‘no. Ang timeline natin, I don’t know kung kailan matatapos but they’re working on it already at we’re seeing some proposals, possible proposals,” he said.

“Gaya ng sabi ko, hindi siya social amelioration ha. I mean right now ang tinitingnan natin, hindi siya puwedeng social amelioration kasi social amelioration, if you read the law ‘no, nakalagay sa batas eh – “Provide an emergency subsidy to around 18 million low income households.” So hindi kayo papasok dito sa emergency subsidy kasi batas po ito eh and obviously Executive can only work with what Congress gives us, sa Executive.”

“At this point, we can give other assistance to middle income families, but not a social amelioration package. Well not like this, not as defined in Letter C, of Section 4,” he explained.