The Department of the Interior and Local Government (DILG) revealed Friday, April 16, that it is considering the request of some local government units (LGUs) in Metro Manila and four adjacent provinces to extend the deadline for the distribution of the national government’s financial assistance.
In an interview over ABS-CBN’s TeleRadyo, DILG Undersecretary and Spokesperson Jonathan Malaya said the department had received such requests from Muntinlupa City, Quezon City, and Valenzuela City in the National Capital Region (NCR).
Further, he added that there were similar requests from 14 local government units (LGUs) in Bulacan, two in Cavite, three in Laguna, and two in Rizal.
“We will discuss this if we (will) make it as a case-to-case basis or a blanket extension,” Malaya noted.
The distribution of cash aid to nearly 23 million qualified recipients in Metro Manila, Bulacan, Cavite, Laguna, and Rizal (NCR Plus) started last week after the said areas were placed under enhanced community quarantine (ECQ) from March 29 to April 11 due to the surge of coronavirus disease (COVID-19) cases.
Low-income individuals were entitled to a P1,000 “ayuda” (cash aid) each but the maximum amount a family can get is P4,000.
The DILG previously announced that the distribution of cash assistance in NCR+ shall be completed by the LGUs in 15 days. The distribution started on April 7.
So far, only P3 billion of the allocated P22.9 billion cash aid have been disbursed by the LGUs, according to Malaya.
“I don’t think it’s really that slow. It can be sped up but our LGUs have limitations because many of them were locked down,” he said.
The DILG official said that some LGUs were not running on full capacity since a number of their personnel contracted COVID-19, thus, slowing down the distribution.
Meanwhile, other cities have big population that even reach to millions which make the distribution of cash aid challenging while adhering to the minimum health protocols, including the observance of physical distancing during queues.