A THIRD ROUND of emergency subsidies for vulnerable households is needed because of the number of families who received no aid earlier, as well as the swelling in the jobless numbers since the completion of the first two rounds, a senior legislator said.
Representative Jose Ma. Clemente S. Salceda, who chairs the House committee on Ways and Means, estimated that another 1.7 million workers are expected to be displaced by the end of September due to the pandemic.
The government distributed two tranches of subsidies worth P5,000-8,000 to low-income households affected by the lockdowns, as provided under the Bayanihan law.
Mr. Salceda said some 2.2 million jobs affected by the lockdown were not accounted for when the registry for the social amelioration program (SAP) was completed in April. He noted that the total will likely increase to 3.6 million by the end of July.
He said some 3.3 million households have lost at least one income earner since the distributions were made.
“We estimate that by the third quarter, or end of September, another 1.7 million workers… will lose their part of, or their entire employment once the impacts of the subsidies and the wage protection programs wear off,” he said in a report.
“In other words, with an economic stimulus package, we may have to provide subsidies to 3.3 million households. Without stimulus, the number could swell to 4.2 million.”
Mr. Salceda projected that P21.4 billion would be needed to provide a one-month subsidy to 3.3 million households, or P27.3 billion for 4.2 million.
He said the government should start discussing the possibility of another round of emergency subsidies.
“I will defer to the Executive agencies on their final figures for how many non-SAP households have lost their income since SAP distribution began… what I will stick with is if the need exists,” he also said.
“We may come up with cash-for-work schemes or other forms of income replacement in lieu of an outright SAP.”
The Bayanihan 2 bill, which has just been approved by the Senate on final reading, provides for another tranche of emergency subsidy for low-income households in areas under enhanced community quarantine. — Charmaine A. Tadalan