By Chito Chavez
Quezon City Mayor Joy Belmonte assured the public on Friday that the city government has ample funds to finance coronavirus disease-2019 (COVID-19) related undertakings.
She issued the statement to allay fears that the city government has insufficient funds to “beat COVID-19 and address its impact to the community.”
On April 13, Belmonte signed a P2.8 billion supplemental budget, which was passed by the Quezon City Council.
The fund will be used for the distribution of food packs and financial aid to residents, and the provision of hazard and risk pay to the city government’s plantilla and contractual employees.
“Wala pong dapat ikabahala ang ating mga residente dahil may nakalaang pondo para patuloy ang pag-alalay natin sa kanila sa gitna ng krisis na ito (The people do not need to worry since we have enough funds to continuously support them in the midst of the crisis),” said Belmonte.
On orders of Belmonte, the bulk or P2.4 billion of the 2020 supplemental budget, would be spent on additional food and economic relief to support families, especially those who now have no income due to the mandatory suspension of public transportation and non-essential establishments in the city.
“We allocated additional P697 million for the purchase of more welfare goods for repacking and distribution to families, and P750 million for the provision of cash aid to families not included in the list of beneficiaries of the national government’s Social Amelioration Program,” said Budget Officer Marian Orayani.
Orayani added that another P753 million is allocated for the “Kalingang QC” program for the city’s vulnerable sectors and for the provision of wages and hazard pay to contractual city government employees who are identified as essential workers and are still required to report to work.
“We also allotted P200 million for the continued adjustment of the wages of our contractual and job-order employees to a livable rate, or not below the minimum P13,000,” said Orayani, adding that hazard pay will be given to all workers on-duty during quarantine.
Under the Kalingang QC Program, solo parents, persons with disability (PWD), vendors and jeepney, tricycle, pedicab, taxi and AUV drivers are given P2,000 cash aid each. The program was expanded to also cover Transportation Network Vehicle Services (TNVS) drivers, senior citizens, and parents of PWDs.