THE GOVERNMENT needs to prepare another round of direct cash transfers, which should be more “universal” than previous rounds targeting vulnerable communities, due to the lingering effects of the pandemic, a senior legislator said over the weekend.

Representative Jose Maria Clemente S. Salceda, the House Ways and Means Committee chairman, said disposal incomes are eroding across the board, and third-quarter data could signal the need to expand the scope of the aid beyond vulnerable beneficiaries.

“We should be open to a direct, universal cash transfer. There should be some fiscal space left since we outperformed revised revenue targets this year. We can also borrow a bit against future revenue,” Mr. Salceda said in a statement.

Mr. Salceda said the government should expand the third round of the Social Amelioration Program in the 2021 budget “to a more universal level” if the disposable income declines by 20-30% in the third quarter.

“We should be prepared to change course from our more prudent fiscal approach if the signs point to a need for renewed direct cash infusions into households,” he said.

Mr. Salceda, who also chairs the economic stimulus and recovery cluster of the House Defeat COVID-19 committee, said public spending plays a crucial role during a consumption crunch.

“The seeming recovery of the US economy in the third quarter… is the direct result of aggressive public spending,” he said.

“It definitely played a role that they released a large stimulus package. Of course, in terms of fiscal stimulus, they can be more expansive because they are the reserve currency of the world, so that has its own privileges.” — Kyle Aristophere T. Atienza