Chief Presidential Legal Counsel Salvador Panelo (File photo)

MANILA – Chief Presidential Legal Counsel Salvador Panelo on Sunday dared senators to donate their one-month salaries to supplement the PHP1,000 “ayuda” (assistance) for poor Filipinos in areas under the most stringent community quarantine to curb the spread of Covid-19.

In his online commentary show “Counterpoint”, Panelo slammed Senators Nancy Binay, Risa Hontiveros, Imee Marcos, Joel Villanueva, and Panfilo “Ping” Lacson for criticizing the government’s cash aid program, saying they should donate their salaries instead of complaining that it is not enough.

“Sabihin niyo kulang? O sige, eto (You say it’s not enough? Okay). I will pose a challenge to you and those who are complaining. Kung yung pagpula niyo dinadagdagan niyo galing sa mga sahod ninyo o mga kayamanan ninyo? Dagdagan niyo kaya yung isang libo (If you are complaining, you add to the assistance from your own wealth? Provide additional assistance),” he said.

Panelo said he was willing to donate his one-month’s salary to supplement the government’s cash aid program.

“Mag dare tayo dito. Yung isang buwan na suweldo niyo idagdag natin. O ako, ilalagay ko. Kayo naman palahanap kayo e. E kung nakukulangan kayo e di magbigay kayo on your own (Let’s have this dare. Let’s add your one-month salaries to the assistance. Me, I’m willing to do it. You keep looking for more. If you think it’s not enough, why don’t you give assistance on your own),” he added.

He urged them to refrain from trying to bring the government down and instead focus on efforts to provide additional help.

“Huwag niyo na siraan ang gobyerno (Stop criticizing the government),” he said.

Meanwhile, Panelo also assured the public that the government is doing its best to address the prevailing health crisis.

“Ginagawa ng pamahalaan ang lahat ng paraan upang matugunan ang suliranin ng ating bayan. Tulungan na lang natin (The government is doing everything it can to address the problems of the nation. Let’s help the government),” he said.

Several senators earlier said the PHP1,000 per person or PHP4,000 per family cash aid is “inadequate” to cover the costs of struggling families and called for the downgrade of quarantine status to allow more Filipinos to earn a living.

On March 29, President Rodrigo Duterte approved the release of PHP23 billion worth of emergency subsidy to about 22.9 million individuals in Metro Manila and four nearby provinces placed under ECQ.

Metro Manila, Bulacan, Cavite, Laguna, and Rizal will be under enhanced community quarantine, the most restrictive quarantine status, until April 11. (PNA)