Palace: Third tranche of cash aid for MECQ area residents up to Congress
MANILA, Philippines —The distribution of a third installment of cash aid to residents of areas under modified enhanced community quarantine (MECQ) is up to Congress, Malacañang said Monday.
President Rodrigo Duterte placed Metro Manila, Bulacan, Laguna, Cavite and Rizal back under the stricter modified enhanced community quarantine (MECQ) from August 4 to 18, 2020, in response to the call for “time out” of medical frontliners.
“Sa tingin ko, dahil yung unang ayuda ay nanggaling po sa Kongreso, kinakailangan itong ayuda para sa third tranche dahil ito po’y third time na tayo maglolockdown, 2 weeks na maglolockdown, kinakailangan ay manggaling pa rin sa Kongreso,” presidential spokesperson Harry Roque said in an interview on Teleradyo when asked if the government will provide aid to residents of MECQ areas.
(Since the first cash aid came from Congress, I think the aid for this third tranche, given that it’s the third time we will undergo lockdown should come from Congress too.)
“Kasi yung unang dalawang ayuda ay galing sa Kongreso at alam naman natin yung nasa Saligang Batas, hindi puwedeng gastusin ang kaban ng bayan na walang batas,” he added.
(The first two tranches came from Congress and we know that under the Constitution, public funds can’t be spent without a law.)
During his regular online briefing, Roque said the third round of cash aid may also be included in the “Bayanihan to Recover As One” or Bayanihan 2, which is aimed to cushion the impact of the pandemic.
“Isasama po siguro ‘yan sa Bayanihan 2 dahil yung unang ayudang pinaminigay po natin ay sang-ayon sa batas,” Roque said.
Roque added that local government units are “ready” to look for funds to help the residents of their respective jurisdictions during the two-week MECQ.
“Nagkaroon din po ng consultation with the Metro Manila mayors at alam naman po ng lahat ang limitasyon natin pagdating sa pondo. Pero handa naman po ang lahat na talagang to look for the funds that we can still find,” Roque said.
(There was a consultation with Metro Manila mayors and we know the limitation when it comes to funds. But everyone is ready to look for the funds that we can still find.)
When several areas were first placed on lockdown in mid-March, the government gave two tranches of cash assistance to some 18 million low-income families.
Under the Bayanihan to Heal As One Act, beneficiaries received P5,000 to P8,000 cash to help them cope with the effects of the pandemic. The distribution of the second tranche is still ongoing.
Roque said the ban on public transportation, the use of quarantine passes and closure of non-essential businesses will be implemented during the two-week MECQ in Mega Manila.
“Lahat po yan bawal uli. Balik tayo sa shuttles muna at motorsiklo, bisikleta at pribadong sasakyan,” Roque said when asked if public transportation will be banned anew.
(All of that is not allowed again. We return to shuttles, motorcyles, bicycles and private vehicles.)
Industries that are allowed to open during MECQ must provide a shuttle to their employees, Roque noted.
“Balik nanaman po ang mga quarantine passes. Bawal nanaman ang labas except for essentials. Dalawang tao lang kada pamilya,” he further said.
(The use of quarantine passes will be implemented again. Going out is barred except for essentials. Only two per family.)
Roque said non-essential shops inside malls will be closed anew and only supermarkets, banks and drug stores will be allowed to operate.
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