Remulla asks Duterte to extend subsidy to Cavite's middle-income families
MANILA, Philippines (UPDATED) – Cavite Governor Jonvic Remulla on Monday, April 6, appealed to President Rodrigo Duterte to include middle class families in his province in the national government’s social amelioration program, saying the financial blow brought about by the coronavirus pandemic is felt not only by low-income families.
“As governor, I am respectfully asking that you consider them to be part of the social amelioration program. They may not get as much as the poorest of the poor, but please consider their welfare. They are often overlooked. They pay the most taxes. They keep our economy alive. They are mostly law-abiding citizens. They need a break,” Remulla wrote Duterte.
Duterte responded to Remulla's plea during his speech Monday night. Duterte said he agreed with the governor that the national government must extend help to middle class families.
Despite this, the President said there were not enough funds to include them.
Remulla posted his letter to the President on his Facebook page. He said that the letter was to the Office of the President through various channels.
In his letter, Remulla said that while Cavite’s gross domestic product (GDP) per capita is “just about the highest” among all the local government units outside of Metro Manila, and its poverty incident is one of the lowest in the country, his province still has been “hit hard” by the pandemic.
Remulla said that middle class families have houses on mortgage and are paying cars or motorcycles on installment. They are employed but they rely on monthly paychecks. They may live in gated villages, but Remulla said that they still pay their loans and government dues such as Social Security System, Government Service Insurance System, Pag-Ibig, and “the largest part – income taxes.”
The middle class families are also feeling the pinch, financially, Remulla said. He said that most have seen their savings depleted in the 3 weeks of enhanced community quarantine.
Cavite, a first class province according to its income, has a projected population 4.8 million this year. It is adjacent to Metro Manila, the center of coronavirus outbreak in the country.
Some 300,000 of its residents work in Metro Manila, and 400,000 more are in local factories that supply the needs of the National Capital Region.
The province has 55 confirmed coronavirus cases as of April 5.
National government imposed the Luzon-wide lockdown to force people to stay home and prevent more community transmission of the coronavirus. It is considering extending the lockdown beyond the original April 12 end date.
Even then, the Department of the Health (DOH), as of Sunday, April 5, recorded more than 3,000 coronavirus cases nationwide, with 152 deaths, and more than 60 recoveries.
The pandemic has slowed down the global economy 3 months after the outbreak of the novel coronavirus in Wuhan province in China. (READ: U.S. report accuses China of covering up coronavirus numbers)
On Friday, April 3, the Asian Development Bank (ADB) said that the pandemic could cost the global economy $4.1 trillion as the coronavirus rampaged through the United States, Europe, and other major economies.
In the Philippines, slower economic growth is expected as major sectors such as tourism, property development, and manufacturing are severely affected by the outbreak. (READ: [ANALYSIS] Will novel coronavirus also infect the Philippine economy?)
On April 2, national government announced that P100 billion in cash aid would be distributed to 18 million poor families to help them cope with the lockdowns.
Remulla said that the announcement of the social amelioration card “gave people a lot of hope.”
“It is a time of crisis for everyone. Not just the poorest of the poor, but also those who have built much but not enough. They wait for the LGU’s to give them relief goods but those come few and far in between. They scrimp and pawn and borrow. They are barely surviving,” he told the President.
Remulla thanked Duterte as he ended his letter, but stressed that he was making the appeal “not for politics nor favor but for the people and their well-being.” – Rappler.com