During a DZMM Teleradyo live public briefing about the Luzon lockdown during the COVID-19 community quarantine, Department of Interior and Local Government Secretary Jonathan Malaya says that people who live in subdivisions do not need help from the government anymore.
“Yung mga nasa subdivision, nakatira naman tayo sa subdivision, bakit pa tayo hihingi sa gobyerno?” Malaya said in verbatim. Before this statement, he also said that people with comfortable lifestyles should not wait for help from the government.
“Yung ibang maganda naman ang buhay, ‘wag na po tayong maghintay ng tulong sa gobyerno kasi maganda naman buhay niyo.” He then adds that the government has limited funds and should prioritize those who are living by the day, on minimum wage.
— DZMM TeleRadyo (@DZMMTeleRadyo) March 25, 2020
To this, some netizens immediately took to Twitter to express their disagreement with Malaya’s statements, writing that residents in subdivisions are taxpayers and are entitled to help from the government as citizens of the country. Others also expressed anger towards such an insensitive remark after pointing out that not all those who live in subdivisions can earn more than enough of what they need.
During the enhanced community quarantine, our country’s government officials have repeatedly proven their detachment from the Filipino masses. On top of Malaya’s remarks, Panelo also said that a person can go 30 days without eating. The VIP testing is proof of this administration’s blatant disregard for the welfare of its constituents.
It should be common knowledge for government officials that while it is important to prioritize helping the country’s poor, those in the middle class should not be neglected. Subdivision residents are entitled to government aid—whether DILG presumes they belong to a certain socio-economic rank or higher. Geographic orientation does not preclude fiscal insecurity. There are those who live in affordable neighborhoods, but are middle-income earners. Some may need to feed a family of six, while there are some who have to nurse the elderly and persons with disabilities.
According to a 2018 study on the middle-income class, the monthly salary for a family size of five members can go as low as P19,000. The family, therefore, might be financially capable of living in a comfortable house, but cannot bear the financial difficulties of losing a month’s salary allocated for utility bills, tuition, groceries or rent. However, whether people are financially capable or not, being abandoned by the government—especially when they are paying taxes—should not be a possibility.
Header photo courtesy of DILG Secretary John Malaya Facebook
Get more stories like this by subscribing to our weekly newsletter here.
Writer: THEA TORRES