'Kaya yan': NCR mayors commit to twin task of 'ayuda' distribution, ramped up vaccination during ECQ, says Abalos

Published August 4, 2021, 11:00 AM

by Ellson Quismorio

It’s a tall order, but it will be done.

MMDA Chairman Benhur Abalos (Ali Vicoy/ File photo/ MANILA BULLETIN)

Metropolitan Manila Development Authority (MMDA) Chairman Benhur Abalos gave this assurance to National Capital Region (NCR) residents Wednesday, Aug. 4 during Go Negosyo’s virtual town hall meeting wherein he laid down the Metro mayors’ twin task of vaccination and “ayuda” (cash aid) distribution in the upcoming enhanced community quarantine (ECQ).

“Aside from vaccination, just imagine, the Mayors will be giving the ayuda. And this will lie a very tedious task. The ayuda will be at P1,000 per person, maximum of P4,000 per family. And you’re talking of 80 percent of 14 million families [in NCR],” Abalos said in the meeting, which was still ongoing as of this posting.

“It’s a tall order also, while vaccinating, you’re giving your ayudas. [We’re] trying to make procedure here, we’re already discussing this with [Department of Interior and Local Government] Secretary [Eduardo] Año. But all of these will be done in two weeks,” he said.

The NCR and other parts of the country will be placed under ECQ–the strictest lockdown possible–from Aug. 6 to 20. The move is meant to halt the local transmission of the more dangerous Delta variant of the coronavirus disease (COVID-19).

The 17 Metro mayors earlier requested from the National Task Force (NTF) against COVID-19 some four million COVID-19 vaccines. These will be used to ramp up the inoculation of NCR residents during the ECQ period.

Abalos, who works closely with the mayors in his capacity as MMDA chairman, said the target is to administer 250,000 jabs a day during those two weeks. For context, the figure is more than double the current daily vaccination average, which stands at around 107,000 jabs.

Abalos had previously thumbed down the proposed conduct of house-to-house vaccinations.

Should the local government units (LGUs) meet the ECQ inoculation goal, a total of 12,668,822 anti-COVID shots will have been administered in NCR by Aug. 20. Most of the vaccine brands in the country’s supply need to be administered twice to an individual.

“If we do that, we’ll be able to protect 45 percent [of the population],” Abalos said, adding that most of these would be “most vulnerable” sectors like senior citizens and persons with comorbidities.

Referring to the Metro mayors, Abalos said: We are one, pagod na pagod na sila (they are very tired), but we are here for you.