(PNA file photo)


MANILA – A party-list lawmaker is pushing for a measure providing a one-time cash aid of PHP2,000 to all Filipinos to alleviate the burden brought about by the coronavirus pandemic and the rapid rise of goods and services.

Kalinga Rep. Irene Saulog filed House Bill 2022, otherwise known as the Universal Ayuda bill, which proposes an amount of PHP218 billion to fund the one-time cash aid.

Saulog said the ayuda (cash aid) will be an equitable means of providing assistance especially to those who were neglected in the previous programs of the government, such as the social amelioration program.

"While these programs had the noblest of intentions, the implementation was far from ideal. Many were left out. In fact, millions of families were included in the second tranche of ayuda in 2020 after their appeal. It only proves that the priority list prepared was not fully responsive and up-to-date," Saulog said in her explanatory statement to the media on Tuesday.

"It did not include all those in dire need of assistance during the height of the pandemic. It is safe to estimate that there are millions more who fell through the cracks. Many who lost jobs during the pandemic simply did not get a chance to be included in the priority list," she added.

She said the bill seeks to implement what the Bayanihan 3 bill or the supposed stimulus measure in the past Congress intended to do, particularly the basic universal income to Filipinos.

"With the continuing surge in oil prices and basic commodities, the ayuda will offer a reprieve from the rising cost of living for the ordinary Filipino," she said.

She said the proposal would also be beneficial to the economy, as the money that will be disbursed to the people will flow back and "pump prime" the economy.

"This encapsulates what this bill intends to accomplish--that no Filipino be left behind during the pandemic. This bill proposes the provision of ayuda for all Filipinos. This is in keeping with the State policy to free Filipinos from poverty and provide adequate social services to all," she said. (PNA)