PHILIPPINES— Senator Panfilo Lacson on Friday vowed to “reinvent” the cash assistance programs of the government if elected president in 2022.

In an event in Mexico, Pampanga, Lacson said he would push for the streamlining of government spending for the financial aid given to less fortunate Filipinos, not only to help them survive, but also to improve their quality of living.

“Dapat ‘pag nagbigay tayo ng ayuda may purpose. Hindi ‘yung ayuda lang na pantawid, dapat bigyan mo ng ayuda na pang-ahon. Ibig sabihin, tinulungan mo para maging productive, para makapagsimula ng livelihood,” Lacson said.

(Cash assistance must have a purpose, not just as a form of relief, but also something that can uplift. What we mean is that you help them [poor Filipino families] become more productive by way of livelihood.)

“Hindi talaga purely ayuda na itatawid lang ang pamilya. Kailangan may balik. Dapat bukod sa tatawid, dapat aahon din ang kanilang kalagayan,” the senator added.

(It’s not just purely assistance for the short-term relief of the family. It must be sustained. Apart from giving them relief, you must lift them out of poverty.)

Since 2016, Lacson said the government has already spent approximately half a trillion pesos for the Pantawid Pamilyang Pilipino Program (4Ps). In 2019, President Rodrigo Duterte signed a law institutionalizing the conditional cash transfer scheme.

(But the question is, have their lives improved?)

Moreover, the presidential aspirant proposed a review of the subsidy scheme for the elderly, saying there should be a program that would help senior citizens become productive.

“I think merong mahigit P1 bilyon kada taon para doon sa assistance para sa senior citizens.  Lahat ‘yan, binilang namin ‘yung social services na nasa pangangalaga ng DSWD, binilang namin 16 programa bukod pa sa 4Ps,” he said.

(I think more than P1 billion is being allocated every year for the [financial] assistance of senior citizens. We counted all the social services projects under the supervision of DSWD, there are about 16 in total, aside from the 4Ps.)

“Dapat merong programa para maging productive pa rin ang ating mga senior,” the senator added.

(We need to have a program so that our seniors can also be productive.)

Lacson and his running mate, Senate President Vicente Sotto III, have been conducting “Online Kamustahan” ahead of Eleksyon 2022.

Lacson said they are planning to hold this program across the country as part of their consultation.  —VBL, GMA News