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Del Mar files 3 House bills to provide cash aid to poor families in PH

By: Doris C. Bongcac - Editor/CDN Digital | October 25,2020 - 09:13 AM

Rep. Raul del Mar of Cebu City’s north district. | Contributed Photo

MANDAUE CITY, Cebu, Philippines — Representative Raul del Mar of Cebu City’s north district has filed three bills at the House of Representatives that seek to address the needs of poor families.

In a statement, Del Mar said that he filed the bills on Friday, October 16.

The first one is House Bill No. 7899 that seeks to institutionalize the government’s Social Amelioration Program (SAP) and allow the release of subsidies to low-income families in four quarterly tranches per year.

Del Mar said that if funds would be available, the distribution of the subsidy might eventually be done on a monthly basis.

He said that “the SAP subsidy was one of the most effective forms of assistance by the government to 17.6 million low-income families during the COVID-19  pandemic.”

His second is HB No. 7900 that would provide a monthly cash subsidy amounting to P6,588 to families considered “in severe hunger” if approved.

“They are families that have no steady income for the daily food on the table, always hounded by the prospect of not having anything to eat today or the next day. They are literally starving and malnourished and sick, or on the verge of illness or death,” he said.

While the P434.8 million that is needed to support 5.5 million families or households is not yet available, this may be included in future allocations “when funds are available.”

Del Mar’s third bill is HB No. 7901 that seeks to produce “healthier, brighter and taller” children by giving cash assistance to pregnant women and the parents of children who are aged between 0 to 23 months who are not covered by the government’s existing dietary programs.

“Stunting is a crisis that does not only affect [the] physical growth of children.  It also impacts on the individual’s intellectual development and the country’s economic growth. Recent studies suggest that childhood under-nutrition in the Philippines costs the country a loss of 1.5 percent to 3 percent of the gross domestic product (GDP) per year,” he said.

The Cebuano congressman, who was also the principal author of Republic Act No. 11291 or the Magna Carta of the Poor, which President Duterte signed into law on April 12, 2019, said that “the need to help the poor was never more acutely felt than during the COVID-19 crisis.”

But unlike the infection, the concerns on poverty and hunger and its other harrowing results such as stunting of children “persists and continues to afflict many poor Filipinos even without a plague or disaster.”/dbs

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TAGS: Cash aid, Rep. Raul del Mar

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