Metro mayors could seek longer period for ‘ayuda’ distribution if…

Published April 11, 2021, 5:31 PM

by Ellson Quismorio

Metro Manila mayors could ask for an extension to the 15-day period during which they are expected to distribute “ayuda” or cash aid to their constituents as a result of the enhanced community quarantine (ECQ) implementation.

(Photo by Ellson A. Quismorio / File photo)

According to Metropolitan Manila Development Authority (MMDA) Director II Vic Trinidad, it’s up to the mayors to gauge whether or not they can meet the deadline while ensuring that minimum public health standards are observed during their distribution.

“Tina-tancha pa po ng mga mayors this week kung kakayanin po nila yung 15 days na binigay aa kanila ng DILG, DOH, at DBM joint circular (The mayors will be gauging this week whether or not the can beat the 15-day period that’s been provided to them by the Department of Interior and Local Government, Department of Health, and Department of Budget and Management joint circular),” Trinidad told DZBB radio in an interview.

Earlier in the interview, the radio anchor asked the MMDA official to confirm reports that some local government units (LGUs) in the metropolis were asking for an extension to the deadline, which would fall on April 15.

“Marami pong sabay-sabay na aktibidades ang mga mayors at ayaw na po nilang makita na may mass gathering po doon sa pagbibigay ng ayuda (The mayors are leading a lot of simultaneous activities and they don’t want to see any mass gatherings when it comes to giving financial assistance),” Trinidad said.

“Kaya ‘pag na-tancha po nila na hindi po kakayanin ma-beat yung 15 days na deadline, baka po sumulat na sila through MMDA sa mga ahensya po para sabihin na kailangan po nila mag-extend (Once they determine that they can’t beat the 15-day deadline, they might write to the agencies via the MMDA and ask for an extension),” he explained.

At any rate, Trinidad stressed that the LGU leaders were bent on finishing the distribution of aid. “Kailangan po ng ating mga kababayan ng ayuda kaya po pina-prioritize din ng mga mayor (Our countrymen need the assistance, that’s why the mayors are prioritizing this).”

The MMDA works closely with the Metro Manila Council (MMC), which is composed of the 17 mayors of the National Capital Region (NCR) or Metro Manila. The MMC serves as the policy-making body of the MMDA.

The dole-out of P1,000 worth of cash aid per person, with a maximum of P4,000 per family, to residents of NCR, Bulacan, Cavite, Laguna, and Rizal (collectively known as °NCR-plus”) is spelled out in Joint Memorandum Circular No. 1, s 2021 dated March 31, 2021.

“Under the JMC, the LGUs are directed to determine through an Executive Order (EO) the most effective and efficient way of releasing the assistance to their constituents in 15 calendars days upon receipt of the funds if the assistance is in cash or within 30 calendar days if assistance is in-kind.