DOF to release P 22-B cash aid today to local gov’ts | Inquirer News
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DOF to release P 22-B cash aid today to local gov’ts

By: - Reporter / @bendeveraINQ
/ 04:51 AM April 05, 2021

Local governments in Metro Manila and four neighboring provinces, where enhanced community quarantine has been extended for another week, will receive on Monday P22.9 billion for distribution as financial aid to those whose livelihoods had been affected by the revert to a stricter lockdown.

“The quick release was made possible only because Budget Secretary Wendel Avisado signed the special allotment release order (Saro) and notices of cash allocation [on March 30], and the Department of Finance (DOF) and the Bureau of the Treasury had prepared funds in advance of this eventuality,” Finance Secretary Carlos Dominguez III said on Good Friday.

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The funding approved and released last week to the DOF through the Treasury would cover “food and other relief assistance” in the so-called NCR Plus, or Metro Manila as well as the provinces of Bulacan, Cavite, Laguna and Rizal, which accounted for half of the national economic output.

The amount was charged against the extended Bayanihan to Recover as One Act, or Bayanihan 2.

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The Treasury will release to local governments—on a per city or municipality basis—their respective allocations.

80% of population

The Department of Budget and Management (DBM) said last week the financial aid would be distributed to 80 percent of the population in NCR Plus who belonged to poor families. Individuals may get P1,000 each, but the maximum aid shall be P4,000 per household.

A total of 22.9 million Filipinos would receive this assistance, the DBM had said, citing estimates of the National Economic and Development Authority (Neda).

In a radio interview on Sunday, Bernardo Florece Jr., officer in charge of the Department of the Interior and Local Government, said local governments had the option to give the aid in cash or in kind.

“If for example, our mayors choose to give aid in cash, they have 15 days to do so. If in kind, we are giving them 30 days to distribute the assistance,” he said.

It would be up to the mayors to decide on the most efficient way to distribute the aid to their low-income residents.

“It doesn’t matter if they give the aid in cash or in kind. What’s important, what the President wants, is that the aid would not be used in politics,” he said, citing a provision in a joint memorandum circular.

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Doles in kind must not have the names of politicians on them, Florece added.

Florece said the government aid would be given only once as the P22 billion was leftover budget taken from the Bayanihan 2.

Acting Socioeconomic Planning Secretary and Neda chief Karl Kendrick Chua, meanwhile, said they were currently reviewing estimates on the impact of the prolonged lockdwon in NCR Plus.

Based on earlier Neda estimates, two weeks of the less stringent modified enhanced community quarantine (MECQ) in NCR and nearby areas would cost P2.1 billion in income losses daily.

A two-week MECQ would also add 58,000 more hungry Filipinos and 128,500 to the jobless.

—With a report from Jeannette I. Andrade INQ

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TAGS: coronavirus pandemic, coronavirus Philippines, COVID-19 aid, NCR Plus ECQ
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