With the alarming spike of COVID-19 cases in Metro Manila and four nearby provinces for the past weeks, the national government placed the area under enhanced community quarantine (ECQ) anew.
President Rodrigo Duterte approved on Monday, March 29, the PHP23-billion emergency subsidy to assists around 22.9 million individuals in Metro Manila and four nearby provinces placed under a week-long ECQ.
Duterte signed a document allowing the release of “in-kind” aid to beneficiaries during a meeting with Cabinet members aired over state-run PTV-4, the Philippine News Agency reported.
Likewise, Budget Secretary Wendel Avisado said 11.2 million from Metro Manila, 2 million from Bulacan, 3.4 million from Cavite, 2.7 million from Laguna, and 2.6 million recipients from Rizal will receive the emergency subsidy.
Avisado said the emergency subsidy will be sourced from the remaining unutilized funds under Bayanihan 2, the government’s second subsidy instalment under the Bayanihan to Heal As One Act.
He added the distribution of in-kind aid may begin on the first week of April.
Avisado said the Department of Budget and Management (DBM) will directly release the emergency funds to local government units (LGUs) for distribution to affected individuals.
“So wala po tayong cash po (So we don’t be distributing cash). We will leave it to the local government units,” Avisado said.
Tackling corruption, Avisado said LGUs will be required to provide a list of beneficiaries and submit disbursements and funds utilization reports.
“Let us just be careful. Siguraduhin lang natin na walang katiwalian (Let’s make sure there’s no corruption). I place my full faith and confidence in the mayors,” Duterte told Avisado.
Beneficiaries received PHP5,000 and PHP8,000 for April and May during last year’s ECQ. The second tranche of cash aid was also distributed for those who did not receive the first tranche.
Duterte earlier placed Metro Manila, Bulacan, Cavite, Laguna, and Rizal under ECQ, most with restrictive quarantine status, until April 4 to curb the spike of COVID-19 cases.
Under ECQ, all households will be required to observe strict home quarantine and limiting movements to Authorized Persons Outside Residence (APORs), those accessing essential goods and services, and workers in establishments allowed to operate.
The country has recorded 731,894 confirmed COVID-19 cases, with 115,495 active cases, 13,186 deaths, and 603,213 recoveries as of 4 PM, Monday.
—(Source: Philippines News Agency)