The city government on Thursday vowed to expand the coverage of its emergency aid program beyond families identified by the social welfare department as among the “poorest of the poor.”
In a public address, Mayor Lucilo Bayron also apologized for an anti-poor slur he made a day earlier that earned criticisms on social media.
Mayor Bayron was earlier pointing out that the city will prioritize giving assistance to families that are listed under the Department of Social Welfare and Development’s (DSWD) “Listahanan” program identifying poor families in the communities.
Citing the example of fishermen whom he said had also been demanding assistance from the city government, Bayron castigated them and urged them to mortgage their fishing boats instead of relying on the city government during the emergency.
“Ako ay humihingi ng dispensa sa nasabi ko kahapon. Ako man ay naapektuhan at nabigla din na nasabi ko na ‘kung may bangka ka e isangla mo ang bangka mo at wag umasa sa gobyerno’. Tao lang naman tayo at nagkakamali. Ngayon lang tayo naharap sa ganitong problema,” Bayron said.
Bayron said many netizens took his statement out of context, reiterating that the city government’s relief plan prioritizes the “poorest of the poor”.
“Ang gusto ko talaga [iparating], kung may kaya lang din tayo, wag na tayong makipagsiksikan dahil lahat naman ginagawa ng paraan ng pamahalaan. Inuuna lang ‘yong around 12,000 pamilya na nakalista sa Pantawid Pamilyang Pilipino Program (4Ps) kasi sila yung mahirap talaga,” he said..
The city government on Wednesday purchased some 20,000 sacks of rice, 12,000 of which were allocated to the families under the 4Ps while the remaining 8,000 will be evenly distributed among residents throughout the city.
“Ang problema, hindi natin alam sino ang nangangailangan. Bibili pa tayo ng dagdag na bigas. Bawat barangay, 40% ng pamilya na mahihirap ang bibigyan,” he added.
Bayron’s reference to a fisherman’s boat had triggered negative reactions from local netizens.
“Apuradong administrasyon talaga. Basta lang ipasara ang mga kabuhayan [ng mga tao] pero wala din naman palang maibigay na tulong. Mamatay sa gutom hindi sa nCov,” a netizen said.
The city government had already allocated some P75 million funds for the fight against COVID-19.