Gov’t tricking people by vowing lockdown aid without knowing where to get it — Bayan
MANILA, Philippines — The government is trying to trick Metro Manila residents by promising them cash aid during the enhanced community quarantine (ECQ), which will be enforced Aug. 6 to 20, without pinpointing the source of funds, the Bagong Alyansang Makabayan (Bayan) said on Monday.
Bayan Secretary-General Renato Reyes cited an announcement made by presidential spokesperson Harry Roque.
“Roque said that social aid or ‘ayuda’ would surely be given but they were not sure where to get it. That means it’s not sure that there’s something to give,” Reyes said in Filipino.
“This is fooling the public. Once again people are put under a new lockdown without any clear aid,” he added.
Reyes also pointed out that the Duterte administration had been backing a lot of projects not related to its COVID-19 response.
“Let’s not forget why there’s a problem in aid and pandemic response now: Bayanihan 3 was not certified by Duterte as urgent. Other expenses were put first like the NTF-ELCAC, Build-Build-Build, and the dolomite beach,” he said.
The NTC-ELCAC is the National Task Force to End Local Communist Armed Conflict. Build-Build-Build refers to the administration’s infrastructure program. And the dolomite beach is that portion of Manila Bay that has been overlayed with crushed dolomite to simulate while sand.
Reyes also noted that funds allocated under Bayanihan 2 were not all spent.
“This regime has a huge sin against the people because of its paltry pandemic response. It is only right to clamor for aid that will be sufficient,” he said.
When President Rodrigo Duterte approved the recommendation of the Inter-Agency Task Force for the Management of Emerging Infectious Diseases (IATF) to place Metro Manila under ECQ, several officials , including House Speaker Lord Allan Velasco — a Duterte ally — asked for the passage and enactment of the Bayanihan 3.
According to Velasco, House Bill No. 9411 — or the Bayanihan to Arise as One — would provide the much-needed stimulus to assist sectors that would be affected by the lockdown. It would include a cash grant totaling P3 billion.
Meanwhile, around P63 billion allocated under Bayanihan 2 remained unspent.
Metro Manila will be under ECQ status from Aug. 6 to 20 due to the threat of the COVID-19 Delta variant.
The Delta variant, which analytics group OCTA Research fears has started spreading in Metro Manila, is considered to be 60 percent more infectious than the Alpha variant — which is already 60 percent more infectious than the original strain from Wuhan, China.
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