Diokno says cash aid to mitigate inflation impact on 9.3m poor families
The government will soon roll out a P1,000 cash aid to 9.3 million poorest of the poor under the Targeted Cash Transfer (TCT) program to lessen the impact of the surging inflation.
Finance Secretary Benjamin Diokno said the total budget for the cash aid is P9.3 billion plus 5 percent administration cost.
The P1,000 ayuda, he said, will be distributed in two tranches for two months.
“Right now, we’re considering the two-month subsidy for consumers. We are just waiting for the announcement from the Palace,” Diokno said in an interview during the 2023 Annual Reception for the Banking Community late Friday.
He said the government is currently in the process of looking at possible sources for the cash aid.
Diokno said the cash aid would be an extension of the TCT program that was launched during the Duterte administration wherein beneficiaries received P500 a month for six months.
The Department of Budget and Management earlier allocated around P206.50 billion of “ayuda” in the form of cash transfers and subsidy programs under the 2023 national budget to help mitigate the impact of rising prices of basic commodities and fuel costs to the society’s most vulnerable sectors.
Budget Secretary Amenah Pangandaman said the administration ensured that “the proposed 2023 national budget is crafted to withstand future risks, challenges, and shocks.”
Inflation in January 2023 accelerated to a more than 14-year high of 8.7 percent from 8.1 percent a month ago, driven mainly by faster increases in the prices of housing, water, electricity, gas and fuels.
Data from the Philippine Statistics Authority showed that the January inflation was the fastest since November 2008 which stood at 9.1 percent.
Core inflation—-a measure of inflation that captures changes in the price of goods and services, excluding food and energy—-has accelerated to 7.4 percent from 6.9 percent in December, the highest since April 1999.
Housing, water, electricity, gas and other fuels index had an inflation of 8.5 percent in January 2023 from 7 percent in December 2022. This was followed by food and non-alcoholic beverages at 10.7 percent from 10.2 percent in December 2022.
Meanwhile, Social Welfare Secretary Rex Gatchalian said Saturday the agency’s cash aid program will be distributed through a QR code-based appointment system to avoid long lines for beneficiaries seeking to get their ayuda.
“If we can only process 700, then we will give QR stubs for 700 beneficiaries. Then we will do another 700 the following day,” the DSWD chief said.
Gatchalian said the agency will open more payout outlets in Metro Manila “in 45 to 60 days.”
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