BONTOC, Mountain Province – Concerned sectors underscored that various assistance programs being implemented by different agencies will still exist irrespective of whoever will be elected in the national and local elected positions during the May 9, 2022 synchronized national and local elections.
Sources, who opted not to be identified, claimed that the labor department’s Tulong Panghanapbuhay sa Ating Disadvantaged/Displaced Workers (TUPAD) program, the social welfare department’s Assistance to Individuals in Crisis Situation (AICS), the medical assistance to indigent patients under the health department, among other livelihood assistance, are organic programs of the said agencies through the years and had been passed down various administrations.
Further, the source explained that the said programs only became popular during the pandemic as a source of stop-gap measures to mitigate the effect of the Coronavirus Disease 2019 (COVID-19) to the economic activities of the people who were displaced from their jobs and lost their economic activities and sources of livelihood because of the implementation of the series of lockdowns to contain the spread of the virus.
The source pointed out that the political leader who will be elected by the people during the elections will not change the way the government implement these programs and that opportunistic incumbent officials used these as vehicles to advance their political interests by making it appear that the financial assistance released through the department programs were their very own initiatives when in fact, these were part of long established assistance programs.
According to the source, these opportunist incumbent officials made it appear that if no due to their interventions, beneficiaries would not have been provided the financial assistance from the said programs, which is totally wrong because even without the elected officials, qualified beneficiaries can to be included as part of the recipients of the financial assistance based on the competent assessment of officials and employees of the agencies and not through the endorsements or insertions of the list of beneficiaries from local officials themselves.
Moreover, the source explained that politicians obviously took advantage of the impact of the pandemic to win their hearts by making it appear that the ongoing distribution of financial assistance by the concerned government agencies are through their initiatives contrary to the very purpose of such programs which is to extend aid to the members of the vulnerable and marginalized sectors.
The source asserted that the noble assistance programs of government are there to stay even with the changing of the guards in the provincial, city and municipal levels and the only thing that the upcoming administration in the national government can do is to enhance the mechanics of such programs to suit the platforms of government of incoming leaders.
He urged individuals aspiring for the different elected positions in the upcoming May polls to exclude the various government aid programs from their political sorties because these will always exist even if there will be a change in leaders from the national to the local levels after the conduct of the political exercise.