By Amado Inigo
MANILA — President Duterte has approved cash dole-outs of P1,000 to qualified beneficiaries in Metro Manila as it enters into a two-week “circuit-breaker” lockdown to stem the tide of the more contagious Delta variant.
That’s the good news. Now the bad news.
The cash aid’s too low compared to the previous cash assistance and yet the head of the government agency tasked with sourcing the needed budget seems unsure where to get the money that will compensate if at all, those who would temporarily lose their jobs or means of livelihood within the 14-day closure of businesses.
“We’re looking for where we could get some (funds),” Department of Budget and Management Secretary Wendel Avisado told MTVN.
PRRD approved a P1,000 cash aid per person and a maximum of P4,000 per family in areas under ECQ information Secretary Harry Roque was quoted as saying.
The presidential mouthpiece added the money may come from the Department of Social Welfare and Development Assistance to Individuals in Crisis Situation program and the DBM chief still has to check fund availability.
The two-week “circuit-breaker” starts August 6 and will end on Thursday, 20 August 2021.
It is estimated for businesses to shed hundreds of billions of pesos in losses resulting from the enhanced community quarantine (ECQ) in Metro Manila.
Aside from this, hundreds of thousands of Filipinos also stand to sustain temporary poverty.
Independent research outfit OCTA recommended the two-week lockdown amid rising cases of the more contagious Delta variant of the coronavirus.
The Aug. 6 ECQ lockdown is the third in the National Capital Region (NCR) since the pandemic was declared in March 2020 with the longest recorded from March 16 to May 15, 2020.
This crippled the economy and was seconded by another ECQ from March 29 to April 11 this year during a surge in COVID-19 cases.