A LAWMAKER from the progressive Makabayan bloc said on Wednesday that the allotment of P13.1 billion for 10.7 million residents in the capital region who would be affected by the reimposition of a two-week lockdown starting Friday is a “mere pittance.”   

“Even if the government gives P4,000 per family it is far from enough because based on the iPrice data a family of four would need P57,600 to live comfortably for two weeks,” said Bayan Muna Party-list Rep. Carlos Isagani T. Zarate in a press release.   

The data from iPrice Group he cited put Manila as “one of the most expensive cities to live in Southeast Asia,” ranking third in the region with an estimated monthly cost of P50,800,  

“This is only for one person. If there is no rent, it would cost P28,800 per month to live decently. If you split it to two weeks, one person will need P14,400 in Manila,” Mr. Zarate said in Filipino.    

Presidential Spokesperson Herminio L. Roque, Jr. has announced that low-income residents in Metro Manila will be given P1,000 per person or a maximum of P4,000 per family as cash assistance during the period of enhanced community quarantine (ECQ), the strictest lockdown category.   

Other members of the Makabayan bloc, in a press conference on Thursday,  challenged President Rodrigo R. Duterte to live on P1,000 for two weeks.    

“Until now, there are people who haven’t recovered their lost income from the first ECQ (such as our workers, small business owners, and farmers,” Bayan Muna Rep. Eufemia Cullamat said in Filipino.   

The progressive group also pushed for the passage of the Bayanihan to Arise as One Act or Bayanihan III, the third stimulus package in response to the coronavirus pandemic. It is currently pending in the Senate.   

The bloc was pushing for a one-time cash subsidy of up to P10,000 per Filipino under the proposed law, but the House-approved version provides P2,000.    

Meanwhile, the Makabayan bloc also filed House Bill 9922 on Wednesday that seeks to provide a P3,000 monthly inflation adjustment allowance for all government workers.    

“Government workers continue to push for P16,000 per month national minimum wage. In the immediate however, they are calling for additional allowances to help them cope with the coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) pandemic and high inflation rate in our country,” the group said in their explanatory note. — Russell Louis C. Ku