Lawmakers urged to donate salaries for families of COVID-19 patients and quarantine-affected workers

Lawmakers urged to donate salaries for families of COVID-19 patients and quarantine-affected workers

Manila, Philippines – The national fisherfolk group Pambansang Lakas ng Kilusang Mamamalakaya ng Pilipinas (PAMALAKAYA) on Tuesday urged senators and congressmen to donate their 6-month salaries to the patients of the 2019 corona virus disease (COVID-19), as well as to the ordinary workers and employees that are affected by the one-month enhanced community quarantine in Luzon.

In a statement, PAMALAKAYA appealed to senators and congressmen to contribute their personal salaries to subsidize the sectors hardly affected by the one-month quarantine, specifically those informal sectors such as workers, farmers and fisherfolk across Luzon.

“A six-month salary of our legislators would not be a huge loss. We call on the patriotism of our legislators to donate their salaries to alleviate the impact of the Luzon-wide lockdown to the families of the patients, affected workers, peasant and other poor sectors whose socio-economic activities were impacted by the enhanced community quarantine,” Fernando Hicap, PAMALAKAYA National Chairperson said in a statement.

Citing the staffing summary document based on the General Appropriations Act 2020 of the Department of Budget and Management (DBM), PAMALAKAYA sad that the combined salaries for 334 legislators for 2020 reaches to P1.034 billion, or P86.2 million monthly. Their combined salaries for six months, the group furthered, could reach to P517 million.

The group added that legislators could also ‘mobilize their pork barrel to raise bigger amount’ and that there is ‘no need for President Rodrigo Duterte to seek emergency powers’ in addressing the public health crisis. Pork barrel for this year is at least P16 billion as exposed by Senator Panfilo Lacson.

“There are billions of pesos of pork barrel funds in the congress, senate, and even the presidential pork; it is reasonable to mobilize these funds to provide the day-to-day subsidies and other form of aid to the Filipinos adversely affected by the epidemic,” Hicap, a former solon during the 16th Congress added.

Finally, the group stressed that ‘if the legislators heed this call, this could inspire more government officials with salary grade 29 and above to emulate them’.

“Bayanihan has been ongoing from the citizenry level to help those affected by the lockdown; it is just and appropriate for government officials to carry out their own version to concretely alleviate the hardships endured by the Filipinos,” ended Hicap. ###

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