Pangilinan urges IATF to seek help of telco firms for fast release of cash aid | Inquirer News

Pangilinan urges IATF to seek help of telco firms for fast release of cash aid

By: - Reporter / @KHallareINQ
/ 10:21 PM April 21, 2020

MANILA, Philippines — Sen. Francis “Kiko” Pangilinan floated on Tuesday the idea of using the services of telecommunication companies for mobile money transfers to hasten the distribution of the government cash assistance during the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) crisis.

In a statement, Pangilinan said he had the suggestion in a letter to Health Secretary Francisco Duque III, who chairs the Inter-Agency Task Force for the Management of Emerging Infectious Diseases.

He told Duque to “tap the services of telecommunication companies that offer mobile money transfers to provide a one-time cash assistance in geographic pockets of poverty.”


Pangilinan added that, during the COVID-19 pandemic, digital cash transfers had become a “widely used social assistance response for better, quicker cash payments.”


Under the Bayanihan to Heal As One Act, 18 million low-income families will be provided with a cash subsidy, ranging from P5,000 to P8,000 monthly for two months, depending on prevailing regional minimum wage.

The senator suggested the following steps so beneficiaries could receive the assistance:

  • The government would ask telco frim to provide a list of phone numbers in “geographic pockets of poverty covered by the enhanced community quarantine a day before.
  • It would announce the day on which the money transfers would take place.
  • On the specified day, beneficiaries would claim the cash in authorized telco shops in their communities.
  • Both the government and the telco companies should implement physical distancing in those shops.
  • The telco companies would then submit to the government then names of the beneficiaries and the amounts they had received for auditing purposes.

“We understand the difficulties the government is facing in distributing the emergency cash assistance. This is our suggestion of an alternative way for the assistance to quickly reach the poor and hungry,” Pangilinan said in Filipino.

Luzon is under a period of enhanced community quarantine that will last until Aprio 30 as COVID-19 cases in the country continue to soar, with 6,599 patients as of Tuesday, of whom 654 have recovered and 437 have died.


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TAGS: coronavirus Philippines, COVID-19

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