Akbayan chairperson emeritus Etta Rosales is urging for the Department of Finance's P27 billion stimulus package to prioritze cash assistance to affected workers as the government declared a Luzon-wide lockdown with COVID-19 cases rising.

"Our health and welfare services down to the barangay level need to be enhanced during the implementation of the community quarantine. Kung hindi namamatay sa virus, mamamatay sa gutom ang mga Pilipino," Etta Rosales said. "Hindi maaring sabihan ang mga tao na pumirimi na lang sa bahay and "just obey" kung wala naman silang pagkain o pera para sa gamot."

"In the P27 billion stimulus package, why is P14 billion going to the Department of Tourism? If the funding is that big, it should go to the waiters, cooks, hotel staff and other workers of the tourism industry. If not, it should go straight to our barangays to do testing and treatment for people affected of COVID-19," Rosales said.

"There are 15 million informal workers in the Philippines and studies show almost half of them have no health insurance. Paano kung magkasakit? We must take care of them, use the people's money to protect them from harm, don't just rely on the private sector," Etta Rosales said.

"DOLE needs to fast-track guidelines on giving out P2 billion worth of cash aid to affected workers and ensure it reaches especially those in the informal sector-- the vendors, the barkers, and tricycle drivers," Rosales added.

Rosales also added that the Department of Social Welfare and Development cannot leave families in need to fend for themselves as they suspend welfare services during the community quarantine.

"Ngayong panahon ng sakit, lubos na kailangan ng mga nanay at kanilang mga anak ang tulong-pinansyal ng 4Ps. Kailangan ipatuloy ang payouts sa kanila nang may maibili silang pangkain o pang-gamot," Rosales said. ###