If elected president, Aksyon Demokratiko standard bearer Isko Moreno Domagoso said he will continue giving “ayuda,” to all Filipino families in the entire country, particularly during the first two years of his administration.
“If I am able to serve as president, as I said before, we will provide food pack assistance under the Food Security Program of the city government throughout the country to reassure the people. As long as there is a pandemic, we will provide aid so that they have something to eat,” Moreno said, in interview with reporters on Monday.
Under the Duterte administration, a P300 billion fund was allocated for the giving of “ayuda” in the form of cash assistance to families whose livelihoods were badly affected by the lockdowns due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
Moreno previously said that if he becomes President, he will double the budget for “ayuda” to P600 billion to ensure that families affected with the COVID-19-related lockdowns will not go hungry while the national government tries to provide jobs for them.
The presidential candidate also said that he will go after the P203-billion Marcos estate tax liabilities and will use the money as additional “ayuda” to Filipino families.
“What matters to me is the person and their pockets and stomachs. That is why I will provide this aid to the whole country while the economy is still recovering because I do not want any hungry Filipinos,” the 47-year-old presidential candidate said.
When asked by the media how he intends to fund the nationwide provision of food aid, Moreno said he would encourage more private sector participation in the government’s major infrastructure projects so that the funds intended for these flagship projects can be used for other government priorities.
“We will continue with ‘Build, Build, Build’ but government money will no longer be used because we will have a PPP, the Public-Private Partnership. Development is still going on, but the government’s money will go to food for the people,” Moreno explained.
To help the agriculture sector and local suppliers, Moreno said will buy locally made products for the food boxes.
“We will take a two-pronged approach—I will buy as the government the produce of those who grow vegetables and take care of animals and I will help the people. So you buy and the farmers earn, our countrymen can still eat. Apparently, we are hitting two birds with one stone,” he said.
The provision of ayuda to all Filipinos affected by the pandemic is part of Moreno’s Bilis Kilos 10-point Economic Agenda, which will serve as his administration’s roadmap to transition the country to economic recovery.
Last Monday, Moreno and Vice Mayor Honey Lacuna made a final inspection of the food boxes, which contain locally manufactured rice, coffee, and assorted canned goods, in San Andres Gymnasium in Malate before sending them out to the beneficiaries composed of 700,000 families living in Manila’s six districts.
Moreno said the food packs are meant to alleviate the plight of city residents whose livelihood and income were greatly affected by the pandemic and until recently, by the uncertainties brought about by the ongoing political turmoil in Ukraine, the immediate effect of which is the unabated rise in fuel prices.
The city mayor also appealed to Manileños to bear with the delays in local projects, such as road or canal improvements, because the city government had to realign and prioritize food over infrastructure.
“Our priority is that no one goes hungry. The road is no longer potholed or unpaved. It’s not bad that there are no good eye and ear programs right now because the more important thing is the stomach,” Moreno pointed out.
“So be patient first and we need to be prudent with the people’s money. This money also came from them and we, the vice mayor and I, are just taking care of it. We try to be careful and efficient to distribute to the general public,” he added.
The fresh round of food aid is included in the city government’s Food Security Program or FSP, which Mayor Isko launched at the height of the Covid-19 pandemic in March 2020.
“This is the ongoing program of the city government that we can at least make our countrymen feel that in our small way of Vice Mayor Honey Lacuna and the Manila Council that your city government is being forced to address to alleviate the hardships experienced by every Filipino family especially here in our city,” Moreno said.
“As you all know last year, we’ve distributed 6 months straight of Food Security Program because I don’t want anyone to go hungry in Manila. It is hard to be hungry, it hurts in the stomach. Been there, done that. And I said when we were talking with the vice mayor that if the pandemic continues, we should be prepared for 2022,” Moreno told reporters.
Moreno assured that all families in the city regardless of status in life will receive their own food boxes, and no family will be left out.
“Now as you all know last February because of the surge of Omicron in January, we distributed 700,000 food boxes for 700,000 families. Now, with the continuous increase in the price of gasoline, soy beans, flour, electricity, food, people’s salaries will really be short, they will be defeated by inflation, and what we see is that we are saddened by the increase in crude oil today. and tomorrow,” Moreno explained.
“And that misery will not stop, maybe the fuel or crude oil will reach a hundred pesos, so poor those who work with a regular job may not have anything to buy in their food basket. So at least in our own little way Vice Mayor Honey Lacuna and I here we can at least reduce their expenses for a month. At least the effect of the price increase will be alleviated and hopefully someday maybe now it can be done, just maybe,” the presidential candidate said.