Senators to ‘presidential wannabes’ taking advantage of COVID-19 crisis: Go away

VIGAN CITY — Three senators issued a joint statement on Thursday slamming politicians who they claim are exploiting the COVID-19 pandemic to advance their political agenda.

Senators Franklin Drilon, Francis Pangilinan and Risa Hontiveros said in a joint statement: “It saddens us that there are people who could be so heartless and power hungry as to take advantage of this crisis to advance their political ambition. To presidential wannabes, hands off, please. Go away.”

The three senators from the minority bloc claim that it is not red tape but the 2022 political campaign that is hampering the immediate distribution of cash aid to the 18 million poor families affected by the Enhanced Community Quarantine.

The Department of Social Welfare and Development (DSWD) has been drawing flak from the public over its reportedly slow pace in releasing the cash assistance.

The senators questioned the need for the DSWD to distribute social amelioration cards (SAC) and gather personal information again when it already has a complete database of poor and low-income families needing assistance from the government, referring to the National Household Targeting System that is used by the department in implementing the 4Ps program.

“Does it mean that their database is not reliable? If they cannot explain it, well, we cannot help but think that it is part of an effort to create a database for the 2022 campaign,” they said.

The senators said DSWD and other agencies should just use their existing database in implementing the social amelioration package during the COVID-19 crisis. 

“Let us spare our fellow Filipinos this unnecessary procedure. Our kababayans are getting hungry and desperate for help. They lost jobs. Give the aid ASAP,” they said.