MANILA— The Department of Budget and Management said Wednesday it has gathered at least P13.1 billion to fund cash aid or "ayuda" for Filipinos who will be affected by the new round of a hard lockdown meant to contain the spread of COVID-19.
President Rodrigo earlier mandated the agency to look for "ayuda" funds to cushion the impact of the new lockdown on already cash-strapped Filipinos especially low-income earners.
The funds were from the savings or unused 2020 budget of different agencies, Budget Undersecretary Tina Rose Marie Canda told TeleRadyo.
Metro Manila, which will be on lockdown from Aug. 6 to Aug. 20, needs at least P10.89 billion for cash aid, she said.
"Nakakalap kami ng P13.1 billion from sources that correspond to sa 2020 na hindi nagamit na pondo ng mga ahensya. Gagamitin po iyon sa pagbibigay ng ayuda," Canda said.
(We have gathered P13.1 billion from sources that correspond to the 2020 unused funds of agencies. We will use that for cash aid.)
Each individual will get P1,000 or P4,000 maximum for each family, she said.
Within the week, the funds will be released to the Department of Social Welfare and Development, she added.
When asked if the DBM could fund another round of assistance if there would be a lockdown extension, Canda said the agency could look into savings from the 2021 budget.
"Inubos muna namin 'yung 2020 na available pero pwede naman natin tingnan kung sa 2021 meron na. In the event na maextend ito, talagang hahanap tayo ng pondo dito," she said.
(We are using up the available money from 2020 but we can also look into the 2021 budget if there are funds available. In case this gets extended, we have to look for funds.)
The Department of Labor and Employment earlier said it was seeking the approval of the DBM for its proposed realignment to cover cash aid for formal workers affected by the Metro Manila lockdown.
A third coronavirus response law or Bayanihan 3 is also pending at the Senate, which includes the following provisions:
- wage subsidies
- emergency assistance to quarantine-affected households
- assistance to displaced workers
- national nutrition
- financial assistance to the agri-fishery sector and cooperatives
- medical assistance to indigents
- local government support
- free COVID-19 testing for seafarers and other overseas Filipino workers
- pension and gratuity fund for retired military and uniformed personnel
- support to basic and higher education
The economy could lose some P105 billion per week Manila is in lockdown, Socioeconomic Secretary Karl Chua earlier said.