P2.6-B aid readied for ECQ areas in Iloilo
ILOILO CITY—Families in the city and province of Iloilo, reeling economically from a prolonged heightened community quarantine, will receive a maximum of P4,000 in cash assistance from the government.
But progressive groups said the assistance was not enough for the loss of income and needs of families who had been deprived of livelihood due to quarantine restrictions.
The Department of Social Welfare and Development (DSWD) in Western Visayas, in a statement, said it was targeting to release a total of P2.6 billion to 665,561 families, with each family receiving a maximum of P4,000 for four qualified members.
Ma. Evelyn Macapobre, DSWD Western Visayas director, said they recommended the provision of cash assistance to families “because this option will be more responsive to the urgent needs of the people.”
The enhanced community quarantine (ECQ) status of Iloilo province and Iloilo City has been extended to Aug. 7. The city has been under ECQ since May 23.
Under ECQ, most businesses are not allowed to operate and those permitted can only do so on a limited scale. Iloilo business owners earlier said the prolonged ECQ was hurting most of the small and micro businesses.
The DSWD said the cash assistance would be distributed to local governments similar to the release of subsidies under the social amelioration program (SAP) implemented last year.
Priority beneficiaries include those who also received assistance under the SAP and those considered under vulnerable groups, including those 60 years old and above, those living alone and persons with disabilities.
But Bagong Alyansang Makabayan and women’s group Gabriela on Panay Island said the government should provide at least P10,000 in assistance to each family due to the severe economic impact of the prolonged and heightened restrictions.
In Mandaue City, Mayor Jonas Cortes appealed to the Inter-Agency Task Force for the Management of Emerging Infectious Diseases to reconsider its decision putting the city under the much stricter modified enhanced community quarantine.
The mayor said it was “unfair” to implement heightened restrictions in Mandaue since the city had the least number of active COVID-19 cases among highly urbanized cities in the Visayas.
Mandaue, he said, is among local governments with the highest number of vaccinated residents in the country.
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