Malcanang assured the public Monday there will be financial assistance to families in areas under the enhanced community quarantine (ECQ), but admitted it remains unsure where to source the funds for the program.
“There will be no ECQ if there is no cash aid,” presidential spokesman Harry Roque said in Filipino, noting that the assistance would most likely come up to P1,000 per person or P4,000 per family.
More than 10 million residents of Metro Manila will be placed under an ECQ, the strictest lockdown level, from Aug. 6 to 20 to arrest the spread of the highly transmissible COVID-19 Delta variant.
Presidential spokesman Harry Roque said the individuals residing in areas placed under ECQ will receive cash assistance from the national government.
Earlier, President Rodrigo Duterte approved the proposal to grant financial aid to those affected by the implementation of ECQ. The Department of Social Welfare and Development (DSWD) will provide assistance worth P1,000 per individual or P4,000 per family.
“The ayuda (assistance) will be given, but I am not sure where to source the fund. But the President ordered [us] to find the money,” Roque said during a press briefing.
He said the Department of Budget and Management (DBM) will tackle the rollout of the financial assistance and the funding source for the program.
Meanwhile, the Department of Labor and Employment (DOLE) is now looking for funds that it can use as a source for “ayuda” or cash aid to workers affected by the ECQ.
Undersecretary Benjo Benavidez said Secretary Silvestre Bello III had discussed cash aid with them.
“We talked about looking for available funding in the General Appropriations Act, to help the workers who would be affected,” he said.
The DOLE official pointed out that they have mechanisms under the current budget that allows them to assist vulnerable workers, such as the agency’s flagship Tulong Panghanapbuhay sa Ating Disadvantaged/Displaced Workers (TUPAD) program.
Senator Christopher Go urged the government to provide aid to the poorest of the poor affected by ECQ.
“They are the ones affected here… They have nowhere to go. They are the ones going out of their home every day to work. They are the most affected,” he said.
At the same time, Go said contact tracing and genome sequencing must be stepped up, while the vaccination program must be accelerated.
Senator Panfilo Lacson said the authorities may have to reconsider and advance the schedule of lockdowns in high-risk areas, instead of waiting one week before imposing the ECQ.
The Philippine National Police on Monday asked the public for patience due to the long lines of vehicles expected at quarantine control checkpoints that will be set up to enforce a stricter lockdown.
PNP chief Gen. Guillermo Eleazar said based on experience, he expected heavy traffic at border control points starting Aug. 6.
Eleazar advised the public to prepare in advance the required documents to be presented to police officers manning the QCPs.
Allowed Persons Outside of Residence (APORS) who will be permitted to travel from and into NCR are advised to have their IDs and necessary documents to avoid inconvenience at the checkpoints.
Eleazar also urged the public to cooperate and stay home and avoid leaving except for essential activities.
Interior Undersecretary Jonathan Malaya said those considered APOR must present to police authorities manning the QCPs any of the following: 1) IATF IDs issued by regulatory agencies; or 2) valid IDs or pertinent documentation issued by establishments allowed to operate under the current quarantine classification; 3) other proof or evidence that purpose of travel is allowed.
He said that the following are considered APOR under the omnibus guidelines:
1. Health and emergency frontline services and uniformed personnel;
2. Government officials and employees on official travel;
3. Duly-authorized relief and humanitarian assistance actors;
4. Persons traveling for medical or humanitarian reasons;
5. Persons going to and from the airport;
6. Anyone crossing zones for work in permitted industries;
7. Public utility vehicle operators.
He also reminded the PNP to allow the free movement of cargo and delivery vehicles across all quarantine control points because these are important to the economy.
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