Press Release
June 10, 2008


The planned three-year P316-billion "Noah's Ark" subsidy program can only work if the subsidies reach the pockets of the poorest of the poor rather than the leather wallets of corrupt officials, Roxas said.

"If they insist on this three-year subsidy plan, then they must prove beyond a shadow of a doubt that these subsidies will go to the poor. They must show us built-in anti-corruption safeguards, credible delivery mechanisms, and a comprehensive list of all target beneficiaries before we even seriously consider having this Ark discussed in the Senate," he stressed.

"Sa Noah's Ark, naroon si Noah para magdesisyon kung sino ang dapat sumakay sa barko at sino ang maiiwan sa lupa. Dito sa 'Noah's Ark' na pinaplano ng pamahalaan sino ang gaganap na Noah? (In the biblical story, Noah was there to decide on who should ride his Ark. In the government's planned 'Noah's Ark' program, who will act as Noah?)" he said.

The Chairman of the Senate Trade Committee said without a credible 'Noah' figure to lead this program, the subsidies will just be parceled out to different agencies and departments without transparency, accountability and effective monitoring.

"Sino si Noah na siyang magsasabing time-out sa politika at korapsyon dahil ang pondo na ito ay para sa mahihirap? Baka mas marami pang butas ang Arkong ito kesa sa bilang ng mga natulungan," he added.

Roxas has repeatedly said the better subsidy package at this time of crisis is to suspend the value-added tax (VAT) on petroleum products, so the savings would redound directly to consumers, who are in the best position to know where to spend these. However, the government has repeatedly refused this proposal.

"Hindi ito 'Noah's Ark' pero ito ay matibay na salbabida para sa lahat ng consumers. Pati ang mga nasa transport sector ay makikinabang dahil liliit ang kanilang ibinabayad sa diesel at gasolina. Bakit hindi ito ang unahin natin? Matagal na itong nasa Lower House pero hindi umuusad dahil ayaw ng administrasyon na mabawasan ang kanilang kikitain mula sa EVAT (This is not like 'Noah's Ark' but this is a strong lifevest for all consumers. Even those in the transport sector stand to benefit because what they pay for diesel and gasoline would be reduced. Why not prioritize this? This has been pending in the Lower House, and has not moved since because the administration does not want its revenues from EVAT reduced)," he said.

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