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Diokno is in favor of funding current social protection programs.

Considering the ongoing economic recovery and the full restoration of public transportation, Finance Secretary Benjamin Diokno argued that the government should give existing social protection programs priority over another round of coronavirus disease 2019 (Covid-19) social amelioration subsidies.

“With the return to normalcy, it is more suitable to keep up the current social protection programs, such as the Department of Social Welfare and Development’s (DSWD) welfare grants for low-income families with school-age children, support for senior residents, aid for displaced employees, etc. As normality is attained and as we learn to live with the virus, the ‘ayudas’ connected with the Covid-19 pandemic, such as in Bayanihan I and II, should end, he stated in a statement on Tuesday.

Diokno claimed that amid the height of lockdowns and limited citizen mobility, the provision of “ayudas,” or monetary help, was justified.

He claimed that while citizens are now free to travel, in-person instruction has already returned.

In his first State of the Nation Address (SONA), President Ferdinand “Bongbong” Marcos, Jr. declared that the government would no longer impose lockdowns.

“Public funds have a limit. They must be wisely distributed to programs and projects that would benefit the greatest number of citizens and the general welfare, according to Diokno.

He gave the example of the funding required for Republic Act No. 11916, which was just approved, or the Social Pension for Indigent Seniors Act, which became ineffective on July 30, 2022. The bill increased the senior citizen pension from PHP 500 to PHP 1,000 per month.

If funds are available, it is preferable to use public resources for older citizens who are in need rather than for ‘ayudas’ intended for the entire public, said Diokno.

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