The government will not provide financial aid to families residing in the so-called NCR Plus bubble as businesses will not be shuttered and work will continue despite the imposition of stricter measures such as travel restrictions and limited operation of establishments until April 4.
“There will be no more cash aid because businesses are open. Anyone can go to work,” presidential spokesman Harry Roque said.
Roque said the more stringent 14-day General Community Quarantine in Metro Manila, Cavite, Laguna, Bulacan and Rizal does not necessitate the distribution of “ayuda” under the government’s Social Amelioration Program.
“If you are looking for ayuda similar to what we gave when we were under Enhanced Community Quarantine, this time, because we are not preventing our people from working, we do not need to give that kind of ayuda anymore,” he said.
“But I understand some local governments, for areas subject to localized and granular (lockdowns), they will be giving ayuda,” the Palace official added.
Last year, the government released P200-billion in emergency subsidy worth between P5,000 and P8,000 to poor households affected by the ECQ.
At the House of Representatives, Taguig Rep. Alan Cayetano urged the leadership to pass a measure which seeks to provide P10,000 cash aid for every Filipino household.
“There is no question that our people are still in desperate need of assistance,” he said, adding that the government has the resources to provide additional financial aid to Filipinos suffering from the continuing effects of the COVID-19 pandemic.
He appealed to Speaker Lord Allan Velasco to pass House Bill 8597 with the same urgency that the Lower Chamber approved the Bayanihan to Heal as One Act and the Bayanihan to Recover as One Act in 2020.
“Last year, together with the executive department, Congress was able to quickly pass the Bayanihan 1 and 2 Laws to help our people. Today, we call on our colleagues in the House of the People – let us rise to the occasion once again and come to the aid of our people by giving them an additional P10,000 per Filipino family,” he said.
Camarines Rep. Luis Raymund Villafuerte Jr. said the measure will also help stimulate economic activity.
“It will circulate in the economy. The money can be used to buy food and medicine and pay for transportation. It’s a big push to improve our economy,” he said.
Cayetano urged the government to act swiftly given the country’s “extraordinary” problems.
“If we will just listen to our countrymen, we will see that we have extraordinary problems. That’s why we need an extraordinary solution, as well as extraordinary action. Given the gravity of our problem, it’s the government that needs to act,” he said.