Pateros Mayor Miguel Ponce II has dismissed suggestions that the national government’s financial assistance or “ayuda” should be divided among all residents.
In a Facebook Live broadcast, an exasperated Ponce said the municipal government cannot do that as there are guidelines to be followed on which groups are priority in the distribution of the emergency subsidy.
The national government has allotted Pateros P52.35 million for the financial assistance based on its population, the smallest budget in the National Capital Region (NCR).
“Many have asked us why don’t we divide it to P2,000 or P3,000 so that everyone can be given just like in other LGUs [local government units] that boast that everyone will receive it and no one will be left behind,” he said in Filipino.
He added, “We cannot do that. This has guidelines. Based on the guidelines, P1,000 will be given per head and a maximum of P4,000 per family. These are the guidelines even if you ask anywhere, anyone or go to Malacanang or DILG (Department of the Interior and Local Government] directly.”
“We cannot change this, that is why we will give a maximum of P4,000 if the family is qualified. Let us not spread information that tends to sow confusion and to influence our townmates. You don’t know what you are commenting or spreading,” he said.
The mayor said for the LGUs which reportedly gave financial assistance to all residents, “they use their own funds. Do not compare our town to them. Our funds are small compared to theirs. We will also do that if we can but the reason why we are unable to is due to our funds.”
Just like in other cities and towns, many residents in Pateros are complaining that they are not included in the list of beneficiaries.
The P22.91 billion financial assistance was approved by President Duterte for residents affected by the enhanced community quarantine (ECQ) in NCR, Laguna, Cavite, Rizal, and Bulacan.
According to a joint memorandum circular by the Department of Social Welfare and Development (DSWD) and DILG, the priority groups for the financial assistance are beneficiaries of the Social Amelioration Program (SAP); additional SAP beneficiaries under Bayanihan Act 2; SAP wait-listed beneficiaries; those belonging to vulnerable groups such as low-income individuals living alone, solo parents and persons with disabilities; and other qualified individuals as determined by each local government unit. Each qualified individual will get P1,000 up to a maximum of P4,000 per family.