By Chito Chavez
The Quezon City government on Friday gave the assurance that cash aid will be provided to vulnerable sectors as P600 million from the city’s P2.8 billion supplemental budget for 2020 was set aside to expand the coverage of the “Kalingang QC (Quezon City)’’ financial assistance program.
“We saw the pressing need to expand the financial aid program after many ambulant and unregistered vendors were discovered during the first wave,” Mayor Joy Belmonte said.
Belmonte said that among the unregistered vendors who were not covered during the initial distribution of the city’s P2,000 cash aid are sellers of dry goods and cellular phone accessories.
She explained that the expanded financial assistance program will also cover solo parents, persons with disability (PWDs), and senior citizens affected by the enhanced community quarantine (ECQ).
Belmonte said she wants to ensure that all vulnerable sectors are covered “so we allotted part of our supplemental fund for them.”
Earlier, she said the city government has allotted P200 million for 100,000 local residents, specifically drivers of public utility jeeps, tricycles, pedicabs, taxis, transport network vehicle service (TNVS), and UV Express vehicles; market vendors, and other daily wage earners affected by the ECQ.
Public Employment Service Office (PESO) head Rogelio Reyes reported that as of April 21, some 36,582 beneficiaries have received P2,000 each from the city government.
He admitted the city government faced huge logistics challenges when it came to the distribution of the cash aid to the city’s more than 200,000 senior citizens.
“Pinag-aaralan pa ang logistics. Mahirap dahil senior citizens are not allowed to go out of their homes because they are high risk due to COVID-19,’’ Reyes said.
(We are still studying the logistics. It is very difficult since senior citizens are not allowed to go out of their homes because they are high risk due to COVID-19.)
He added “going house to house with huge sums of money for distribution to the city’s seniors could make social workers and treasury staff susceptible to hold-ups, and would therefore require tight security.”
Aside from the Kalingang QC program, the city government’s P2.8-billion supplemental budget will fund the food packs distributed to residents and the payment of hazard and risk pay to its employees.