Govt taps ₧13.1-B funds for cash aid during ECQ

- By Samuel P. Medenilla @sam_medenilla

THE government has allocated P13.1 billion to provide cash aid for people affected by the new round of enhanced community quarantine (ECQ) in Metro Manila.

In an online press briefing on Tuesday, Presidenti­al spokesman Harry Roque said the amount will be used to provide financial assistance to 10.1 million qualified beneficiar­ies in the National Capital Region (NCR) for the duration of its lockdown from August 6 to 20, 2021.

Each entitled individual will get P1,000. A maximum of 4 beneficiar­ies per household can get the financial assistance.

Roque explained the P2.4billion excess fund for the cash aid will serve as a “contingenc­y

budget” of the government in case it needs to give assistance to people not included in its initial target number of beneficiar­ies.

He said the fund will be sourced from the unobligate­d funds of government agencies as well as windfall revenue collected by the Bureau of the Treasury.

Face-to-face distributi­on

METROPOLIT­AN Manila Developmen­t Authority (MMDA) Chairman Benjamin “Benhur” Abalos said the list of beneficiar­ies will come from the Department of Social Welfare and Developmen­t (DSWD).

MMDA is eyeing face-to-face cash aid distributi­on to ensure it will be promptly received by its intended beneficiar­ies instead of digital payments previously used by DSWD.

He said the final guidelines for the distributi­on is expected to come out within the week.

DSWD spokesman Irene Dumlao said they respect the MMDA’S recommenda­tion to make use of face-toface distributi­on over their digital payment scheme.

“We have seen that this mechanism worked during the distributi­on of ECQ ayuda [cash aid] in NCR plus several months ago,” Dumlao said.

NCR plus includes Metro Manila, Laguna, Cavite, Bulacan and Rizal.

Dumlao said they recognize the challenges in their digital payment system, “including lacking informatio­n from beneficiar­ies and that some beneficiar­ies do not have smartphone­s.”

However, she noted that people who were able to successful­ly get their cash aid via online payments “reported high or very high satisfacti­on levels on the use of digital disburseme­nts.”

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