More cash aid, subsidies under Bayanihan 2

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    GOVERNMENT will continue to provide cash subsidies, loans, and other forms of aid to the poor sector and those heavily-affected by the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) pandemic and related lockdowns, presidential spokesman Harry Roque said yesterday.

    Republic Act No. 11494, or the Bayanihan to Recover As One Act (Bayanihan II) that President Duterte signed into law on September 11, has a P6-billion fund for programs of the Department of Social Welfare and Development (DSWD), including for emergency subsidy for those living in areas that will be under granular lockdowns.

    Roque said a P13-billion fund for the cash-for-work programs for displaced workers under the Department of Labor and Employment (DOLE) has also been included in the Bayanihan 2, along with a P3-billion fund to assist drivers of public utility vehicles (PUVs).

    He said the government will give a cash aid of P5,000 to P8,000 to those in granular lockdowns to be declared by local government units.

    The government has given two tranches of the Social Amelioration Program (SAP), amounting to P5,000 to P8,000 per household, to poor families living in areas under the enhanced community quarantine (ECQ) in April and May.

    Cash subsidies were also provided under DOLE Department of Agriculture programs for those who lost their jobs or livelihood due to the pandemic.

    Roque said Bayanihan 2 also provided P820 million for repatriation-related expenses, including the shipment of remains and cremation of Filipinos who died of COVID-19 overseas, while P10 billion is reserved for COVID-19 testing and the procurement of COVID-19 medication and vaccine.

    Other features of the Bayanihan 2 are allocations for the improvement of the country’s healthcare capacity and financial benefits for healthcare workers providing services during the pandemic, like P13.5 billion for health-related responses including the hiring of more medical personnel, P3 billion for the purchase and distribution of personal protective equipment, and P4.5 billion fund for the construction of temporary medical isolation and quarantine facilities, field hospitals, and dormitories for frontliners.