President Duterte has recently approved a P3.783 billion financial assistance to local government units (LGUs) in the National Capital Region, and the provinces of Laguna and Bataan.
This was revealed today August 12 by Senator Christopher ‘’Bong’’ Go, chairman of the Senate health committee, who said that the financial assistance would go a long way in helping affected residents of LGUs under Enhanced Community Quarantine (ECQ).
“Kaya bilisan agad dapat ang pag-distribute (We need to distribute it fast). Kailangan ito ng mga mahihirap (This is needed by the financially-distressed). Nagmamadali tayo dito (we must do it quickly). Habulan ito — laban kontra COVID-19 at laban sa kagutuman (This is a race to fight COVID-19 and hunger),” he added.
Go stated that government should always provide the necessary social protection to low-income families to mitigate the adverse impacts of the ongoing COVID-19 global health crisis.
This came after the Inter-Agency Task Force on Emerging Infectious Diseases reverted the National Capital Region (NCR) to the most stringent ECQ starting last August 6 until August 20.
Laguna and Bataan were also placed under the same ECQ status from August 6-15 and August 8-22, respectively. These were intended to contain the further spread of COVID-19 whose spikes in cases are suspected to be caused by the more contagious Delta variant.
Upon the approval of the President, the Department of Budget and Management (DBM) will be augmenting the Local Government Support Fund of LGUs amounting to P2.23 billion while another amount of P1.55 billion from excess revenue certified by the Bureau of Treasury will be released through Unprogrammed Appropriations.
The assistance will be released directly to the concerned LGUs which will be in charge of distributing the same to their qualified beneficiaries. Similar to previous assistance granted to LGUs after the successful appeal of Go, the LGUs will be required to submit their Fund Utilization Reports.
Earlier, Go appealed to the national government to grant financial assistance to the low-income households of the NCR, comprising 80 percent of the population.
President Duterte approved the said recommendation of DBM and National Economic and Development Authority, amounting to P10.894 billion for affected individuals in Metro Manila. The additional funds shall augment this amount in order to match what was provided in March to these LGUs.
Reiterating his appeal to LGUs tasked to disburse the funds, Go urged concerned authorities to quickly put the necessary mechanisms in place in order to prevent any administrative delay in distributing the financial aid to qualified individuals and households.
Last March, the senator from Davao had successfully appealed to government to provide assistance to the low-income residents affected by the imposition of ECQ in the National Capital Region, Bulacan, Cavite, Laguna and Rizal.
The national government also provided assistance to the residents of Iloilo province, Iloilo City, Cagayan de Oro City and Gingoog City, Misamis Oriental who had been likewise affected by ECQ restrictions.
Go acknowledged the need for stricter restrictions to curb the spread of new infections. Go, however, stressed that addressing the issues of hunger and poverty is a vital part of any successful mitigation strategy.
Go assured that the government is prepared to overcome these challenges as long as Filipinos cooperate and remain united towards the collective goal of protecting lives.