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BY ARGYLL CYRUS B. GEDUCOS
Malacañang said the government will be extending financial assistance to those who will be affected by the week-long enhanced community quarantine (ECQ) and that the aid will cover more beneficiaries.
Presidential Spokesman Harry Roque made the statement after President Duterte approved placing Metro Manila, Bulacan, Cavite, Laguna, and Rizal under ECQ from March 29 to April 4.
In his press briefing on Saturday, Roque said that the government will be extending cash aid since a lot of people will be affected by the closure of many businesses.
Roque said details such as the source of the fund and the method of distribution are still being finalized by the government’s economic team.
However, the Palace official said that those affected by the ECQ, particularly the ones who will not be able to work, will receive the assistance.
The beneficiaries of the first two tranches of the social amelioration program (SAP) will also be included.
“Lahat po noong mga nangangailangan ‘no kasi iyan po ang tinitingnan natin – magkano iyong halaga,” he said.
“Sa pagpupulong ng mga Metro Manila mayors, mas gusto nila na mas maraming makinabang, hindi lang iyong mga SAP beneficiaries,” he added.
Roque, however, said beneficiaries may receive a smaller amount compared to the original SAP.
“Siguro po ang halaga ay mas maliit sa inaasahan pero ang makakatanggap ay mas marami po,” he said.
He likewise hoped that only those who will not be able to work for the next week will avail of the assistance.
“Sana po iyong mga hindi lang nakapagtrabaho ang kumuha ng financial aid ‘no kasi iyan naman po iyong intensiyon natin, iyong mga hindi nakapagtrabaho,” he said.
Meanwhile, Roque said the distribution of this round of cash assistance will unlikely take place during the ECQ period but will happen within the next month.
“Kasi sa lockdown mahirap mamigay ng tulong at isang linggo lang naman ito,” he said.
“Pero ang target po natin, hindi rin naman po matatapos ang buwan ng Abril eh makakarating iyong tulong na ibibigay ng gobyerno sa mga nangangailangan,” he added. (Argyll Cyrus B. Geducos)