November 10, 2020
BUILD BACK BETTER NOT JUST BUILD BUILD BUILD–POE
Sen. Grace Poe has vowed to continue to push for government funding for vulnerable sectors of society which is more crucial now that the country is dealing with the pandemic.
Poe, vice-chair of the Senate committee on finance, worked for the inclusion of subsidies for jeepney drivers, support for commuters, and an increase in the feeding program for students in the 2021 national budget or House Bill No. 7727.
“I am proud to be a member of a Senate which did not bend in the face of an unprecedented crisis–the COVID-19 pandemic and the corresponding fallout on the economy,” Poe said.
The Senate immediately passed the landmark Bayanihan 1 and 2 laws meant to help the country deal with the effects of COVID-19 and the passage of the 2021 national budget of P4.5 trillion is the next step.
“We have alloted P5 billion as subsidy for displaced public utility vehicles in the form of service contracting. This will enable jeepney and bus drivers to operate while following safety protocols without sacrificing their income,” Poe said.
PUV drivers and commuters suffered much from the quarantine restrictions that deprived drivers of livelihood and made it more difficult for workers to get to work.
“For our commuters, we have placed P500 million under the Local Government Support Fund for segregated bicycle lanes and footpaths,” Poe said. “We have also inserted P70 million under the Department of Public Works and Highways for PWD and senior-citizen friendly facilities.” The local government support fund can also be used to build or rehabilitate public parks.
Poe worked to increase the DepEd School Feeding program by an additional allotment in the 2021 budget that may be used as transportation allowance for public schools that can serve as ‘padala hubs’ for packed lunches and learning modules. “This is a school-to-stomach fund for learners who are also adjusting to off-campus learning,” Poe said.
In addition, Poe also moved to increase the budget of the Civil Aviation Board by P60.81 million and provide a P1.53 billion subsidy to the Civil Aviation Authority of the Philippines to support the industry after the pandemic practically brought tourism to a halt.
“This is a budget geared not just to Build, Build, Build but to ‘Build Back Better’ from the pandemic. It is built upon lessons learned as well as the Filipino people’s hopes and aspirations. It is a budget which we can gladly sign with the words, ‘Hindi namin iniiwan sa ere ang mga Pilipino,'” Poe said.