Gov’t pressed to continue distributing aid to areas under GCQ | Inquirer News

Gov’t pressed to continue distributing aid to areas under GCQ

By: - Reporter / @DYGalvezINQ
/ 03:37 PM May 12, 2020

MANILA, Philippines — The government should continue distributing cash aid under the Social Amelioration Program (SAP) to residents in areas on general community quarantine, lawmakers from the minority bloc in the House of Representatives urged Tuesday.

ACT Teachers Rep. France Castro said that even those in GCQ areas were still adversely affected by the coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) pandemic, many of whom lost their livelihoods.

She also said that there are still families who have not received the first tranche of the cash aid.


Presidential spokesman Harry Roque earlier announced that only poor households in areas under the enhanced community quarantine (ECQ) would be covered in the second tranche of the emergency subsidy due to limited government funds.


“Tinututulan namin ito. Siyempre kasama namin dito ang buong minority bloc doon sa panawagan na dapat ituloy pa rin yung pagbibigay ng SAP sa pangalawang buwan dahil na ang region ay naka-GCQ na,” Castro said in an online press briefing.

(We have a strong objection to this. The whole minority bloc urges that the distribution of the second tranche of SAP should still be continued even though residents are in GCQ areas.)

“Nakita naman natin na kahit naka-GCQ ang mga regions, marami pa rin naman dyan ang nawalan ng trabaho na at naghahanap ng trabaho. Makakatulong itong 2nd tranche ng SAP sa kanila,” she added.

(We saw that even though their areas are under GCQ, many residents still lost their jobs and are still looking for sources of income. This cash aid will help them.)

Some areas in the country were placed under GCQ starting May 1 due to the relatively low occurrence of COVID-19 cases.

Minority solons are also pushing for massive testing for the novel coronavirus or SARS-CoV-2 which causes the COVID-19, as they pledge support on a bill proposed by Deputy Minority Leader Janette Garin.


The bill mandates the government to conduct COVID-19 testing especially those in the vulnerable sector, such as pregnant women, older people, people with pre-existing conditions, frontline workers such as healthcare professionals, sales workers in markets and supermarkets, bank employees and members of the media.

“Ang pangangailangan pa rin ay mass testing, noon pa man bago pa man mag lockdown, talagang pinalutang na ng minority ung importance ng mass testing specifically doon sa mga vulnerable sectors,” Bayan Muna party-list Rep. Carlos Zarate said.

“We cannot say we flattened the curve kung walang nangyayaring maramihang pag-test (without having mass testing),” he said as he expressed worries that the two-month lockdown would go to waste if the efforts to combat the virus were not sustained.

To avoid the resurgence of COVID-19 cases, lawmakers also pushed for the gradual lifting of quarantine protocols in high-risk areas.

The government earlier announced the easing up of quarantine measures in some “low-risk” areas in Luzon and other parts of the country after May 15. Meanwhile, “moderate risk” areas will be placed under general community quarantine (GCQ) starting May 16.

Under GCQ, businesses may resume partial operations  excluding those that are involved in leisure and entertainment.

READ: Quarantine measures in low-risk COVID-19 areas lifted by May 16

However, Metro Manila, where the majority of COVID-19 cases are condensed, Laguna province, and Cebu City — which are all considered “high-risk” areas — will be placed under modified enhanced community quarantine (ECQ) starting May 16 until May 31.

Under modified ECQ, the movement of people will remain to be severely restricted with most only allowed to leave their homes for the provision of food and other basic necessities and in cases of emergency.

Some industries will also be allowed to reopen but will only have about 50% capacity.

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READ: NCR, Laguna, Cebu City placed under modified ECQ until May 31

TAGS: ECQ, GCQ, HOR, House of Representatives, mass testing, minority bloc, SAP

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