President Duterte is considering the sale of some government properties to augment the funds for the national government’s financial assistance program for poor families, Presidential spokesperson Harry Roque announced.
“Nabanggit pa nga niya na magsisimula na siyang magbenta ng mga propriyedad ng gobyerno at mayroon pa siyang isang nasabing property, ayaw ko munang isapubliko, ‘no. Pero sabi niya, iyon siguro ang sisimulan nating ibenta para maibigay sa ayuda,” he said in a recent radio interview.
[The president mentioned that he is starting to sell government properties, and he named one specific property he is considering, I don’t want to say it publicly for now. But, he said it might be sold so we could fund the payouts of the cash subsidies.]
Sale of government properties is one of the options being explored by the government to augment the insufficient funds for the Social Amelioration Program (SAP).
Duterte had admitted before that the administration is starting to run out of finances and has then ordered the economic team to find more funding sources. To boost government resources, he has raised the possibility of placing Cultural Center of the Philippines, Philippine International Convention Center, and some lands along Manila Bay for sale.
The president has also instructed Budget Secretary Wendel Avisado to study the realignment of select items from the 2020 Budget for this purpose. If all else fails, Duterte will not hesitate to ask for Congress’ help in funding the cash subsidy program.
Under the P205-billion program to cushion the socioeconomic impact of the pandemic, the government distributed cash subsidies between P5,000 to P8,000 to benefit 18 million low-income families for the months of April and May. An additional five million families will be included in the list of beneficiaries in the first tranche, bringing the total to 23 million.