LGUs begin distribution of cash, food packages

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    THE Department of Interior and Local Government (DILG) yesterday gave local government units 15 days to complete the distribution of cash assistance to families affected by the enhanced community quarantine imposed in areas under the NCR Plus bubble.

    Local executives who will distribute food packs to their constituents instead of cash has 30 days to finish the distribution.

    Bernardo Florece, officer-in-charge of the DILG, said the distribution of the cash or in-kind assistance will commence today.

    President Duterte has approved the grant of a P1,000 cash aid per person, or a maximum of P4,000 per family, or their equivalent amount in food packages, who live in the National Capital Region and the provinces of Bulacan, Cavite, Laguna and Rizal, which are entering a second week of lockdown to stop the alarming surge in COVID-19 cases.

    Malacañang has given LGUs the discretion to dole out cash or food packs.

    “Our countdown starts tomorrow,” Florece said on Sunday, adding: “If our mayors chose to give cash, we are giving them 15 days. If it’s in-kind, we are giving them 30 days to distribute the assistance.”

    Florece urged the public to immediately report to the DILG any irregularity that might happen during the distribution of the government assistance, even as he expressed confidence that local executives would not corrupt the Special Amelioration Program (SAP).

    He likewise reminded local officials against using the program for political purposes.

    “If they are distributing food packages, these should not be placed in bags that bear the names of politicians, especially of local chief executives,” Florece said.

    Vice President Leni Robredo batted for a bigger cash assistance. “I think the P1,000 assistance in kind is too low. It’s like an equivalent of just a few days of work so that’s our problem with the ECQ extension,” Robredo said. – With Wendell Vigilia