Dispatch from Crame No. 917: Sen. Leila M. de Lima’s reaction re: 2021 budget for social welfare programs


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Food security. Quality and accessible healthcare. Decent employment and livelihood. Given the current health and economic crisis, these three (3) key concerns should be guaranteed in the 2021 national budget.

The Duterte administration does not however know its priorities. For proof, look no further than the proposed DSWD budget under the National Expenditure Program (NEP). The DSWD is only set to receive an almost negligible increase of 4.45 % from its 2020 appropriation. Its budget was unceremoniously passed over by our budget managers in favor of other, less critical agencies, such as DPWH and AFP which both received massive boost in funding.

A closer look reveals that the Duterte administration made key realignments within the DSWD budget that will have dire consequences for millions of Filipinos. For instance, not granting an additional ₱816 million to the Social Pension for Indigent Senior Citizens program will deny 91,000 wait-listed senior citizens their social pensions – depriving one of the most vulnerable sectors of a much needed lifeline amidst a pandemic and a recession. The Sustainable Livelihood Program is also set to suffer a billion-peso budget cut from its 2020 GAA level – at a time when millions of Filipinos have been losing their sources of income due to the quarantine protocols and lockdowns.

These budget cuts tell us that the government continues to fail to acknowledge the plight of our kababayans, especially the most economically disadvantaged and vulnerable. No less than the Philippine Institute for Development Studies, the state think-tank, said that 1.5 million Filipinos could fall into poverty without government support. Shouldn’t Duterte’s economic managers prioritize saving lives and livelihoods? In the midst of the country’s worst economic crisis since World War II, record-high joblessness, hunger and sickness, there is no sufficient allocation for welfare programs and social safety nets for our people.

I urge my colleagues in both chambers of the legislature to reinstate the cuts in the original proposed agency budget of DSWD, ensuring that there will be enough appropriations for next year to cover the much needed social services and social safety nets for our poor families, low-income or displaced workers, and other disadvantaged groups, such as the senior citizens.


Access the handwritten copy of Dispatch from Crame No. 917, here: https://issuu.com/senatorleilam.delima/docs/dispatch_no._917

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