The national government should treat additional cash aid to poor Filipino families as an investment and direct help rather than an unnecessary expense if it truly wants the economy to recover, Pamantasan ng Lungsod ng Maynila President Emmanuel Leyco said.
President Leyco stressed anew the need for "ayuda" or cash assistance to the country's poorest during the online panel discussion of the Citizens Urgent Response to End COVID-19 or CURE COVID on Wednesday.
"Kung ang ating ibibigay na ayuda ay makaka-stimulate sa ekonomiya, dapat tingnan nila. Consumption accounts for the bulk of our economy," he said.
"Saan ba mapupunta ang pinamigay nating ayuda kung hindi rin sa ating ekonomiya? Walang malalaglag dito –– ang nakikita ko dito, ang ayudang ibibigay natin sa mga mamamayan ay iikot din sa ating ekonomiya, therefore, it can only result in positive things. Ang kagutuman ay maiibsan at pangalawa, maii-stimulate ang economic activities," the PLM president added.
The poorest Filipinos bear the brunt of the pandemic, which has stretched to nearly a year now, as they are the first to lose their jobs and incomes due to earlier lockdowns. They also feel the burden of buying protective gear such as masks and alcohol more, which is now compounded by the need to shell out more money for food as pork, chicken, and vegetable prices are soaring.
"Bawat akyat ng presyo ng bilihin, malaki ang impact niyan sa iyo. Ang kinakarga ay mas mabigat kaysa sa mga mayayaman dahil mas malalim ang kanilang pisi at bulsa. Sa mga pamilyang walang ipon, sila ang unang-unang tinatamaan nito," President Leyco said.
Putting more money into people's pockets would ultimately lift the economy faster, added President Leyco, who once served as officer-in-charge and undersecretary of the Department of Social Welfare and Development.
"Meron tayong 4Ps bago ang pandemya... Hindi ito cost o expense, kundi ito ay tulong na ibinibigay natin sa ating mga mammayan na hopefully makakabalik sila sa ating ekonomiya," he stressed.
The PLM president also appealed for the provision of internet allowance (as an alternative to chalk allowance) and public wifi connections to aid students and teachers who are struggling with the distance learning set-up. More of them also need smart gadgets to keep up with the new normal of education.