Lawmakers scrutinize P26.7 billion in government financial aid

Senate Questions P26.7-billion Aid Program

In a public hearing on the people’s initiative, senators questioned the validity of the P26.7-billion financial assistance under the Department of Social Welfare and Development (DSWD). The “Ayuda Kita sa Kapos” program was brought up, and senators were taken aback by its existence. The unexpected revelation of the program, which was not in the national expenditure program and was not familiar to most senators, raised eyebrows and prompted further scrutiny.

Disclosures during the hearing indicated that the program, as well as other unknown projects, had to go through the office of the Speaker before being included. Senator Imee Marcos, who presided over the probe, expressed surprise and outrage at the lack of information and guidelines surrounding such large sums of money.

The hearing also revealed that the People’s Initiative for Modernization and Reform Action (PIRMA) was discovered to have been non-existent for two decades based on records from the Securities and Exchange Commission. This raised red flags and prompted additional inquiries into the legitimacy of PIRMA’s operations.

Moreover, the Senate is considering holding public hearings on the effort to amend the economic provisions of the 1987 Constitution outside of Metro Manila. This move aims to facilitate wider participation and representation in the ongoing debates, particularly in the Visayas and Mindanao.

On another front, a coalition called Koalisyon Laban sa Chacha has emerged, comprising over 30 member groups that are against any forms of Charter change. The coalition is committed to upholding the Constitution and opposing attempts to deceive and undermine the will of the people.

In response to the push against Charter change, the National Economic and Development Authority (NEDA) highlighted the need to amend the Constitution’s restrictive economic provisions, pointing out that it would help build the country’s resilience to future shocks and prevent the brain drain caused by the scarcity of local employment.

These revelations and discussions during the public hearing shed light on the complexities and controversies surrounding government programs and potential constitutional changes, adding fuel to the ongoing debates and inquiries regarding the country’s economic and social initiatives.

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