Press Release
April 20, 2020

CNN Philippines' The Source interview with Sen. Kiko Pangilinan

Q: I wanna start with this leaked memo. So the Philippine Air Force already said that this is true, the AFP also confirming this. But they call it a prepared strict implementation of an enhanced or extensive enhanced community quarantine. They say this is to prepare in case the President implements a Martial Law crackdown due to increased violation of the ECQ. Does this raise any red flags for you, Sir?

SFNP: Why is the quarantine being violated? You know, the data shows in the last report to Congress by Malacañan, that only 25% of the beneficiaries received the assistance.

So you have almost 75% of people who have lost their jobs, who are not earning anything today, who are going hungry and they would have to go out and figure out how to address the hunger.

So between a Martial Law-type crackdown and fast-tracking the assistance I think the right direction is to fast-track the assistance and to make sure that the cash assistance and the relief goods reach those in lockdown.

You cannot expect a person to stay home and stay hungry, looking at his child -- mga anak niya ginugutom -- and will not do anything about it. So ako I think more than a Martial Law-type crackdown, we have to fast-track the delivery of cash assistance and food packs to our citizens. I think that should be the priority.

What are the solutions? One is we have to address the problem of the right beneficiaries. I think we should err on the side of being generous. The fact that we are still trying to figure out who shall receive what is I think a bureaucratic nightmare that has to be addressed immediately.

Q: Okay. But when you say it's a question of who should receive what, what I'm wondering is when government allotted 200 billion pesos for 18 million families who belong to the low-income families, aren't we supposed to have a list Sir? Because when we talk to mayors of LGUs, they're saying that they have a list, and when they had a meeting, they approved that list. However when it came to the DSWD, the DSWD reduced that list. So that alone becomes a major problem.

A: Yes, precisely. The list that the DSWD has would be the CCT--the 4Ps families. But that's just less than 5 million.

So what about the 13 million? I think it is important to ensure that those who need it most will get it but at the same time we have to balance. You know you're talking about 18 million house families. That's pretty much 90% of your country's population. And therefore if there are some gaps, we would rather to have it distributed immediately.

Maybe look into telcos? We do have a hundred twenty-nine million cellphone numbers. Perhaps the telcos and the DSWD can look into how do we determine perhaps a telco-type padala system, direct cash assistance. What we have to do is hasten the distribution and ensure that the 18 million families needing it will get it as soon as possible.

Isang buwan na ho 'yung lockdown. 25% pa lang as of last week ang nakakatanggap. 75% nitong dapat makakuha ng assistance mula pa noong tatlong... mag-aapat na linggo na, hindi pa nakakakuha.

Talagang lalabas nang lalabas ng bahay 'yan para maghanap ng makakain. Kaya kailangang pabilisin po natin itong pagdistribute nitong cash assistance in coordination with the local governments.

Q: Senator I understand you're saying kailangang pabilisin. So mabagal po ang sinasabi niyo kasi naka-ilang linggo na, hindi pa rin nakakatanggap 'yung iba. The first question really is kanino po ba talaga dapat manggaling 'yung listahan. Because there seems to be a disconnect kung sino talaga ang pasok sa 18 million, at hindi pasok sa 18 million Sir?

A: Ako pagkakatiwalaan ko 'yung local governments. Let's trust our local governments. Sila ang mananagot sa kanilang mga botante eh. Bigyan natin ng mas malawak na suporta ang ating mga pamahalaang lokal. Pagkatiwalaan natin sila.

Now is the time to come together. Kung mayroong corruption issues, bantayan. Kung mayroong hindi nakakatanggap, i-report. Pero ibigay 'yung pondo, i-release 'yung pondo.

Sinasabi kasi over a hundred billion have already been downloaded but it nis ot being released.

And therefore national government would just have to trust the local governments to make sure that this delivered to the right people and then have a system of check pero 'yung hihintayin mo 'yung listahan at hanggang walang listahan ay hindi ilalabas eh teka muna, magkakaroon din tayo ng problema diyan.

Iyan ang mangyayari, 75% isang buwan na hindi pa nakakatanggap.

Let's trust the local governments. Let's provide them with the necessary support.

Q: But the DBM had a press release and I wanna read this to you. The DBM had a press release that came out Saturday, April 18, Sir. It says the DBM releases 199.975 billion for DSWD Social Amelioration Program. Nakasulat po dito Senator that some were downloaded April 1, some April 2, and the rest April 16.

A: Yes, but downloaded is different from being released. The actual release is another step. It's available for release but whether it's released or not is another question altogether.

Q: Okay let me correct that though, they say that it has been released. And according to the DSWD 18 million households nationwide will receive assistance through the SAP. It will be 4.4 million households of 4Ps who will be receiving top up assistance from their existing payouts. Pagkatapos mayroon pa 'yung natirang 5-8 thousand. Sir, let me just ask you this, what should be done in the next two weeks? Para po makarating na sa 18 million families ito pong 5-8 thousand pesos?

A: Like what I said, we have to trust the local governments. Ultimately ang local government mananagot. So bigyan natin ang ating mga kapitan, bigyan natin ang ating mga mayor. Pagkatiwalaan natin, saka na natin panagutin kung nagkaroon ng pagkukulang.

Pero sa ngayon, people are hungry, people are clamoring for more assistance and therefore let us provide the support.

The national government, release it to your LGUs. Make sure that the LGU is able to get the necessary resources. And then monitor the releases.

I guess that's what we will have to do. Pabilisin natin, at ang mga pamahalaang lokal ang dapat na manguna dito sa effort na ito.

Q: Pero because of that memo, that leaked memo sir. Kayo ho ba nangangamba na may lumabas na ganon even if they're saying it's just in preparation for a possible martial law crackdown because doon sa mga tinatawag na pasaway sir? Or is this something the government may possibly need to do?

A: Well, you know in the end, the best way to address this is to ensure that the government is able to communicate effectively its plans in a transparent manner. And is able to distribute the cash assistance and the food packs effectively in the lockdown areas particularly in Metro Manila. Dapat. Mag-iisang buwan na.

And then, I think, moving forward, there has to be a calibrated partial lifting of the lockdown as we move forward. Partial. Hindi pwe-pwedeng dating gawi.

Kinakailangan ang mga essential services lamang ang bubuksan. Mayroong partial lifting of this public transport ban. Pero dapat na calibrated din yan dahil iyong mga taong kinakailangan lang ang pumasok para magkaroon ng manufacturing. Para ang pagkain ay nade-deliver.

Eventually iyan ang ating gagawin. Hindi pe-pwedeng total lifting nitong quarantine dahil nga pag nangyari iyan, babalik itong virus. Kakalat uli. Eh para tayong back to square one.

So moving forward, I think government has to communicate. Hindi pe-pwedeng lockdown lang, "Magutom kayo, bahala kayo sa buhay ninyo." Hindi pe-pwedeng ganun ang mensahe ng gobyerno.

Hanapan natin ng solusyon yung pagdeliver.

Iyong mga farmers, we already had the approval of the purchase directly from farmers. Local government should be able to do that. The Department of Agriculture has the funds to be able to provide yung Kadiwa sa Ani and therefore, pagtulungan na lang natin iyong pagsagot doon sa tugon na ginugutom ang taumbayan.

Hindi martial law ang sagot sa gutom ng taumbayan. Delivery of this cash assistance ang solusyon.

Q: Last question sir, just to be clear about this. You are in favor of a partial, calibrated lifting? Right after April 30, sir? Or do you feel that the present situation, the ECQ, should be extended for another two weeks beyond April 30?

A: I have to qualify that. The ECQ, by and large, should be extended but certain essential services should be allowed to begin to operate. But that requires private sector testing. That requires more testing as we prepare for that calibrated lifting.

Without the mass testing sabi nga eh, bulag tayo. We don't know who has been tested, we don't know how this is spreading. And contact tracing and the isolation centers. Ito ang solusyon. Hindi martial law. Ang solusyon, magkaroon ng isolation centers. Yan naman ang ginagawa, pero palagay ko dapat pabilisin pa.

Ginagawa, in fairness to the IATF, they are working double time. But I think, precisely nga, we have to work triple time to make sure that the isolation centers are in place, mass testing is undertaken, continued support of our frontline workers. Iyong mga PPEs, iyong mga masks. Kinakailangang tuloy-tuloy iyan para effective ang paghandle nitong pandemic.

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