Cash aid a one-time deal – DBM

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    BUDGET Secretary Wendel Avisado yesterday said low-income families from Metro Manila and the provinces of Bulacan, Cavite, Laguna and Rizal will only get a “one-time” government assistance despite the one-week extension of the enhanced community quarantine (ECQ) imposed over the NCR Plus bubble.

    “One-time financial assistance lang po iyon. Wala na pong kasunod (It is a one-time financial assistance. Nothing follows),” Avisado said.

    Some local government units in the NCR Plus bubble started the distribution of the assistance yesterday.

    President Duterte has approved the distribution of a relief package to some 80 percent of the NCR Plus bubble population whose incomes were affected by the imposition of the ECQ from March 29 to April 4, and its extension for another week from April 5 to 11.

    Local executives were authorized to give P1,000 per individual, but not to exceed P4,000 per family, either in cash or in kind to poor families in their jurisdictions.

    Presidential spokesman Harry Roque said that while the amount may not be enough to compensate for the loss of income suffered by those who were unable to work during the ECQ period, the cash assistance would help soften the impact of the lockdown and tide families over until businesses are allowed to resume new normal operations.

    The Department of Budget and Management (DBM) last week released to the Bureau of the Treasury the Special Allotment Release Order and corresponding Notices of Cash Allocation amounting to P22,915,422,000 needed for the special amelioration program.

    The BTr has been tasked to download the money to LGUs in the National Capital Region and its four neighbor provinces.

    During the Laging Handa public briefing, Irene Dumlao from the Department of Social Welfare and Development said social workers will assist LGUs in the implementation and distribution of the financial assistance to targeted beneficiaries.

    Sen. Panfilo Lacson said the DSWD should have already adjusted its list of “ayuda” recipients, as he noted that the agency used 2015 Philippine Statistics Authority data as basis when it distributed the first tranche of the special amelioration program (SAP) list last year.

    “When we passed Bayanihan 1 to appropriate funds for the SAP, the reference used by DSWD was their 2015 data which is outdated. Expectedly, the implementation was marred by confusion and complaints. Those who were jobless in 2015 may have been gainfully employed in 2020 and vice versa,” Lacson said.

    “With the scarce resources available, I hope adjustments have already been made to make the ayuda really responsive to the needs of our people. If they did not learn from the mistakes of the past, we are really hopeless in addressing this pandemic,” he added.

    Sen. Imee Marcos urged local government units to make public the names of individuals who have received the assistance for transparency. – With Raymond Africa