Metropolitan Manila Development Authority (MMDA) Chairman Benhur Abalos gave kudos to local officials in the National Capital Region (NCR) for two major achievements this April in connection with the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) pandemic.
Abalos did so during President Duterte’s public briefing on Wednesday night, April 28.
“Gusto ko lang hong purihin ang mga alkalde, ang mga barangay captain, ang mga kagawad, ang mga tanod ng kalakhang Maynila (I just want to praise the mayors, the barangay captains, the councilmen, the watchmen of Metro Manila),” he said.
“Halos dalawang linggo lang, naipamahagi na po nila ang 73 percent ng ayuda, sa dami po ng tao (In just two weeks, and with all the beneficiaries, they managed to distribute 73 percent of the financial assistance from government),” Abalos said, referring to the cash aid that was allotted to metro dwellers whose livelihood was affected by the reimposition of an enhanced community quarantine (ECQ) earlier this month.
The aid amounted to P1,000 per eligible beneficiary, with a maximum of four members per family.
And then there was perhaps the bigger accomplishment in light of the recent surge of COVID-19 cases in the NCR, which triggered the ECQ in the first place.
“Hindi lang po iyon. Sa mga binakunahan, ay bumaba pa po ang mga kaso [ng COVID-19] sa kalakhang Maynila. Hindi ho dumami, bumaba pa po (That’s not all. From those who have been vaccinated, the number of new daily cases of COVID-19 in Metro Manila has gone down. The rate did not increase, it went down),” the MMDA chief said.
Department of Health (DOH) Secretary Francisco Duque III attested to this during his report to the President earlier in the briefing, saying that the rate of new infections for the disease has begun to drop.
Despite the positive developments that he cited, Abalos said that the 17 Metro mayors agreed with the President’s decision to maintain the current modified ECQ or MECQ status until May 14.
Abalos said their focus right now is to prepare for the influx of COVID-19 vaccines this second and third quarter of the year. He said there could be as many as 15 million vaccines on hand for the government’s mass inoculation program by August.
Abalos works closely with the Metro local chief executives in his capacity as MMDA chairman.
President Duterte reckoned that Abalos, who was physically present with the former, delivered a “good report” during the briefing.