Filipinos living in areas under the enhanced community quarantine (ECQ), the strictest community quarantine classification in the country, will surely receive P1,000 per person or up to P4,000 per family, Presidential spokesman Harry Roque said on Monday, August 2.
The Palace official said that the week before the reimposition of the ECQ, the third since the pandemic in March 2020, will be used to give the “ayuda” or cash aid to local government units.
Metro Manila and some provinces will be under lockdown starting August 6 to 20 to curb the spread of the highly transmissible and contagious Delta variant of the coronavirus.
“Kaya naman po ang assurance ng ating presidente hindi talaga tayo maglalockdown kung walang ayuda. At nakumpirma ko ngayong araw na ‘to siguradong-sigurado po ibibigay natin ang ayuda (That’s why the assurance of the president is we will not have a lockdown without cash assistance. And I just confirmed today that we will surely give the cash assistance),” Roque said during his virtual press briefing.
The National Capital Region (NCR) and nearby provinces are under general community quarantine (GCQ) with heightened and additional restrictions from August 1 to 5 in preparation for the lockdown starting on Friday. Dine-in services are already suspended and only authorized persons are allowed in and out of NCR Plus, which includes the provinces of Laguna, Cavite, Rizal, and Bulacan.
Roque said that the cash assistance will be similar to what the government approved for Cagayan de Oro, Iloilo province, and Iloilo City, which are also under ECQ because of the rising cases of COVID-19 there.
“Walang ECQ na walang ayuda at ninanais po natin mabigay po ito sa lalong mabilis na panahon bago pa po mag-lockdown. Kaya nga po nagbigay tayo ng isang linggong palugit (There is no ECQ without cash assistance and we aim to distribute this at the earliest possible time before the lockdown. That’s why we have a one-week allowance),” he explained.
However, the spokesperson admitted that he is not sure where the funds will be coming from, only that President Duterte’s mandate is for the Department of Budget and Management (DBM) to find the money.
Roque said he will find out today where the government will get the money, and they will transfer the budget to the local government units (LGUs) within the week.
“The earlier, the better para masimulan kaagad ang distribution (to start the distribution),” he added.
Several LGUs said that they will ensure social distancing is observed during the distribution of the cash aid. They will also use digital platforms to send the cash assistance.
The country is on the verge of another surge after the one last March as it recorded its third straight day of more than 8,000 cases.
The Health department also reported 216 known Delta variant cases, most of which are in Region 7 and NCR, with a total of eight deaths. The Delta variant is the known driver of the current surges in Indonesia and Malaysia. It was first detected in India.