Instead of the measly P200 ‘ayuda’ to help Filipinos get by amid soaring fuel prices, PROMDI presidential candidate Sen. Manny Pacquiao prefers that the government should just deliver a sack of rice to poor families.
He said the government should also buy its rice supply from local farmers at a reasonable cost to help Filipino farmers who are barely surviving because of the influx of cheap imported rice, the unabated smuggling, and the high cost of production.
Pacquiao noted that the P200 monthly aid is a measly amount even for poor families. He said it will not be enough to help them survive so the government should give them a sack of rice instead.
“The poor can already fight hunger with rice, cooking oil, and salt or soy sauce. You can even be sure that the aid will be used for food and not for something else,” said Pacquiao.
In his childhood, Pacquiao said that his family would try to fight hunger just by drinking lots of water and it was already considered a decent meal for them if they have rice on the table.
Pacquiao said that President Rodrigo Duterte’s decision to allocate at least P33.1 billion to finance the cash assistance for the “bottom 50 percent of all Filipino households.”
He said this is in agreement with his position that the government can address the skyrocketing cost of fuel either by suspending the excise tax on fuel or by providing direct subsidies to the poor.
However, Pacquiao stressed that P200 per month is not enough to help the country’s poor.
Against the backdrop of rising prices of basic commodities confronting the Filipino family, the amount of cash assistance may be far from achieving its objective of easing the economic difficulties faced by them, he explained.
He said a sack of race delivered monthly to members of the “C, D, and E” classes of Filipino families can be the best option in addressing the problem.
“We will be shooting two birds with just one stone if the government will choose this option to help the poor.”
“We will be able to provide relief to the poor and at the same time help our farmers by buying their produce,” he further said.
The Mindanaoan senator was the first among the country’s national leaders to appeal to President Duterte to convene a special session of Congress to pass legislative measures that would temporarily suspend the collection of excise tax or value-added tax on fuel.
Pacquiao issued the call as early as February, weeks before the Eastern European conflict that cause the massive increases in fuel prices.