Palace urges gov't agencies to 'move fast' in providing aid

Published April 7, 2020, 12:06 PM

by manilabulletin_admin


By Genalyn Kabiling

Hunger can certainly spark social unrest, Malacañang admitted Tuesday as the government escalated its efforts to address the needs of the people.

Presidential Spokesman Salvador Panelo (OPS / MANILA BULLETIN)
Presidential Spokesman Salvador Panelo

Presidential Spokesperson Salvador Panelo said President Duterte recognizes the urgency to provide aid to sectors affected by the coronavirus quarantine and has directed concerned agencies to “move fast.”

“Social unrest will always come when people get hungry and there is no food to feed their stomach,” he said in his virtual press conference Tuesday.

“Time is of the essence, as the President always says, and we have to move fast and swift to respond to the needs of our countrymen,” he added.

As the government steps up the implementation of the social amelioration program, Panelo has also appealed for patience and cooperation. “Huwag po kayong mag-alala, darating po at darating iyan.” (Do not worry. Aid will come.)

Panelo said the President entrusted certain tasks related to the government’s COVID-19 response to former military men to ensure the operations in addressing the coronavirus threat will be organized and efficient.

“Nakita po ni Presidente na itong mga taong ito na dati sa militar, eh iba ang kanilang training, mayroon silang disiplina. Mayroon silang organized na sistema kung papaano nila ipatutupad ang isang order na nanggagaling sa commander-in-chief,” he said.
(The President appreciates the training and discipline of these former military men. They have an organized system on how to implement an order from the commander-in-chief.)

Defense Secretary Delfin Lorenzana and Interior and Local Government Secretary Eduardo Año serve as chair and vice chair of the National Task Force COVID-19.

Presidential peace adviser Carlito Galvez Jr is the chief implementer of the national government’s action plan against the coronavirus disease, while Social Welfare and Development Secretary Rolando Bautista leads the implementation of the social protection program, especially for low-income families.

Panelo said Bautista would ensure the social protection packages would reach the intended beneficiaries.

“Habang totoo na hindi po kara-karaka o kaagad-agad na ibibigay po ito, ginagawan po ng paraan to shorten, paigsiin iyong proseso upang lahat ay makatanggap,” he said.
(While it is true that it cannot be given instantly, we are taking steps to short the process so everyone can receive the aid.)

The President earlier launched the P200-billion emergency subsidy program for low income families affected by the enhanced community quarantine measures.

The Department of Social Welfare and Development (DWSD) is in charge of the project implementation after the President removed the authority from the local government officials.

The LGUs’ role has been limited to assisting the DSWD in distributing the cash aid.

Under the two-month program, the government will distribute cash subsidies ranging between P5,000 and P8,000 to 18 million families. The subsidy amount will be computed based on the prevailing regional minimum wage rates.

The implementation of the project has been marred by complaints of alleged cumbersome rules in determining the target beneficiaries.