MANILA - A one-time financial assistance worth P1,000 for those affected by the reimposition of enhanced community quarantine in Metro Manila and 4 surrounding provinces can be given in cash or in kind, the Department of Budget and Management said Tuesday.
Budget Secretary Wendel Avisado said they were leaving it up to local government units to make the decision.
"Kung sa pagpupulong ng mga lokal na pamahalaan, eh mas madali sa kanila 'yong cash, maaaring gawin nilang cash. Kung hindi naman, bibili sila ng in kind," he told Teleradyo.
(If during the meeting of local government units [they decide] that cash is better, they can do it in cash. If not, they can do it in-kind.)
Distribution of ECQ aid to 23 million people in the National Capital Region and the nearby provinces of Rizal, Bulacan, Cavite and Laguna or so-called NCR Plus is set in the first week of April.
The government will be giving at least P1,000 worth of aid per person but not more than P4,000 per low-income family.
Avisado noted that LGUs would have to repack the goods if they would give the assistance in-kind. He also said it could be prone to corruption if given in cash.
"Ang atin na lamang, we rely on the goodness of the heart of the Filipino at sana naman maunawaan ng taongbayan na ito ay talagang para sa kanila. 'Yong mag-iimplement naman ay 'wag ibubulsa at talagang ibigay do'n sa nararapat," he said.
(For us, we rely on the goodness of the heart of the Filipino and hopefully the public would understand this is for them. For those who would implement it, don't pocket the money and give it those who deserved it.)
Avisado reiterated the aid would come from the remaining unutilized balances of Bayanihan 2, the country's second pandemic stimulus package.
The law, which has been extended until June 30 this year, allocates a total of P140 billion to help sectors affected by the health crisis, and P25 billion in standby funds should the government need more money to finance COVID-19-related projects.
The Metro Manila Council has discussed about the distribution of the assistance through in-kind packages, said its head Parañaque City Mayor Edwin Olivarez.
"Kapag in-kind ang binigay sa LGUs (local government units), mahihirapan po tayo makapila sa DSWD para makadeliver. kung idadownload ang pera, meron po tayong direct purchase. Mas maganda po kung pera ang bibigay sa LGU," he told ABS-CBN's Teleradyo.
(If it's given in-kind to LGUs, we will find it difficult to line up at the DSWD for it to be delivered. If the money is downloaded, we can directly purchase. It's better if money is given to LGUs.)
The mayors have yet to agree on which basic goods will be included in the social amelioration package, Olivarez said.
"Ang iba naman pong LGU ready naman po siya. Nakaready na po kami, Nakapagumpisa na po kami ng pagbibigay ng ayuda halos kahapon. Mamaya full blast na kami," he added.
(Some LGUs are ready. We are prepared, we began giving out packages yesterday. Later the distribution will be on full blast.)