Seeking to provide assistance to the estimated 7.6 million families who experienced hunger, Cebu 1st District Rep. Raul Del Mar has batted for the inclusion of Social Amelioration Program (SAP) provision in the proposed P171.22 billion budget of the Department of Social Welfare and Development (DSWD) for 2021.
The veteran lawmaker said the 2021 budget of the DSWD should be augmented to grant monthly cash aid to poor families next year.
“We are hoping again to see in their proposed budget that there will be some SAP. We see something big fat zero, zero help. How can they do that when this was really a big help to the low income families?,” he asked after Negros Oriental 1st District Rep. Jocelyn Sy Limkaichong relayed to the House plenary that there is no SAP provision in the budget of the DSWD for next year.
“We recommend an increase to the budget of the DSWD on SAP because we would like to see this not only once in every quarter for year, but even monthly so that there can be some help to our low income families. So I am proposing that we can provide this as an increase in their budget to be able to give the SAP quarterly next year. This is not that much, it is just P399 billion,” said Del Mar.
“The ideal is every month. If we give it in 12 equal tranches monthly every year, we would have P1.2 trillion that is why I said P399 billion is small because it should be P1.2 trillion,” he explained.
He said SAP subsidy should be given to no-income families who are needing “greater help” than the low-income families.
Del Mar said Congress should step in to address the results of the Social Weather Stations survey, which was conducted from September 17 to 20 among 1,249 respondents, showing that an estimated 7.6 million households experienced involuntary hunger or hunger due to lack of food to eat.
Based on the SWS survey, the breakdown of the starving families is as follows: 22 percent or an estimated 5.5 million families who experienced Moderate Hunger and 8.7 percent or an estimated 2.2 million families who experienced Severe Hunger.
“I am proposing again that since we cannot afford to help 7.6 million families, let us first help the families in severe hunger to start with, as we go along we can include those families in moderate hunger,” Del Mar said.
If an average SAP subsidy of P6,588 will be extended next year to 2.2 million families who experienced severe hunger monthly, the government will have to shell out P173.9 billion, he said.
“I hope there is time, consider this as my amendments to the DBM,” he said.
He noted that if the 5.5 million families who experienced moderate hunger will be given SAP, the government will spend some P434 billion.
Limkaichong said although SAP is not included in the 2021budget of the DSWD, “there is an increase in the protection services” of the agency under its Assistance to Individuals in Crisis Situations (AICS).
“The AICS which has increased to P12 billion is also in line with the item of SAP. The SAP is inclusive in the protection services,” she said.