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ROUGH CUTS | They have to work while waiting

Sen. JV Ejercito wants government to stop the cash assistance program for displaced or vulnerable workers. Two of these programs are the Tulong Panghanapbuhay sa Ating Displaced/Disadvantaged Workers (TUPAD) and the AICS or Assistance to Individuals in Crisis Situations.

According to the Senator it is about time that the government should instead focus on providing long-term, more sustainable programs that would result to having the currently disadvantaged people the skills that could give them regular and continuing employment. We agree one hundred percent. But when is the government, especially the legislative department, going to implement the kind of program that the senator is advocating?

Why haven’t he sponsored a law that will institutionalize the kind of assistance he would want given to the vulnerable sector of the Filipino people? Would he rather stop outright the existing TUPAD or AICS and only by then the Congress starts finding a new mode of assistance that the good senator think as long-term? Why cannot he sponsor the needed legislation to start his kind of assistance program now, let the TUPAD and AICS continue until the replacement program law takes effect with the corresponding budget and implementing rules and regulations already in place?

In this manner the government will be able to help the disadvantaged individuals/families survive while in the interregnum.

It is fool hardy for government to stop the aid program now and let the concerned sector go hungry, and perhaps die of it while waiting for the implementation of Senator Ejercito’s proposed replacement program.

As the saying goes in Filipino, “Aanhin pa ang damo kung patay na ang kabayo?”

In a related vein we deem it nice to hear that the first to express open opposition to the idea of Senator JV Ejercito is the regional office of the Department of Labor and Employment (DOLE) in the Davao Region.

DOLE XI Director Randolph Pensoy disagrees with the senator’s view that the TUPAD and AICS cash aid programs “only create a culture of mendicancy.” Ejercito also wants the DOLE and the Department of Social Welfare and Development (DSWD), the two agencies in the lead of implementing the “ayuda” programs, to create an “exit mechanism” as pursuing the assistance would only foster the “ayuda” mentality among Filipinos.

The DOLE official said – and we agree with him – that abolishing the TUPAD or the AICS will further adversely affect the quality of life of the lowly Filipinos.

On our part we believe that the senator is way off the radar when he said that the beneficiaries might think that they no longer need to work since they are receiving cash assistance. How can the beneficiaries think of not working anymore when the assistance comes irregularly and at P500 a month only. While the “ayuda” is supposed to be released quarterly oftentimes it is delayed. In fact the latest to come was good for two quarters and was only released this month.

So while waiting for the release Ejercito think there is no need for the beneficiaries to eat or satisfy the other needs of their families because there is cash assistance coming? The lawmaker indeed is far from reality. After all he and his immediate family members have always been living the good life. So what woukld he know about being in the marginalized sector of the population?

So we think it would do good for the lawmaker whose mother is from Davao to do the crafting of replacement non-cash and sustainable assistance program first at the Senate even as he can use as reason for the passage of such law the termination of the current aid program after a specific period of time.

We assume that by doing so the beneficiary sector will already be appropriately warned of the program termination after a period of time and they could already be prepared by the time the schedule comes.

There are terms in the language at the Department of Public Works and Highways (DPWH) and the City Engineer’s Office (CEO) as “relief roads” or “diversion highways” or “coastal highways.” All these refer to routes that will allow motorists to use if they want to escape humongous vehicular traffic normal happening in the most usually used roads or highways.

One of these relief roads we are writing about is the Maa-Magtuod-New Carmen-New Valencia relief rod that exits to Calinan without using the Davao-Bukidnon Highway.

But with the way the contractors do their job in the expansion and repair of the said relief road, they are converting it instead to one “highway to hell.” Yes, motorists maybe relieved of traffic but are led to suffer the ignominy of the effect of long lines of vehicles all wanting to be ahead to enter the lengthy one-way lane on one side of the road excavated for the much delayed expansion and repair project.

In other words gone is the expected relief, and in its stead is boredom of waiting for one’s turn and huge additional expenses for gas in the process.


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