Duterte announces P200-B aid for poor families affected by Luzon lockdown

Pia Gutierrez, ABS-CBN News

Posted at Mar 31 2020 01:03 AM | Updated as of Mar 31 2020 11:52 AM

Residents of Barangay Batis in San Juan City wait for the distribution of goods on March 23, 2020. George Calvelo, ABS-CBN News

MANILA - President Rodrigo Duterte on Monday night announced that his administration is allotting P200 billion to help low-income households affected by the implementation of the enhanced community quarantine to prevent the spread of the coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19).

Duterte touted this as "the largest and widest social protection program in our country’s history."

“Pinakamalaki itong tulong na ibibigay ng gobyerno sa mamamayan sa history natin, eh ngayon lang tayo nagkaroon ng problemang ganito, to make up for the loss of economic opportunities due to quarantine measures in the place of COVID-19,” the President said in his televised address.

"We have alloted P200 billion for low income households who are badly affected by the current crisis. Sila ang nasa informal sector, and those who live day-to-day on subsistence wages or no work, no pay," he added.

According to Duterte, members of the informal sector will be receiving two month's worth of emergency fund, based on the existing regional minimum wage rates.

"Arrangements, beneficiary households will receive emergency support for their two months based on the regional minimum wage," he added.

The President appealed to the private sector to extend its help for the poor during the crisis.

“To those who have more in life, I implore you to share in the cost of taking care of the less fortunate and keeping our society intact. They have also contributed to our prosperity in one way or the other, so let us support them in this crisis. Let it be said that in the hour of our country’s greatest need, we all look out for and help each other. Buksan natin ang ating puso sa nangangailangan,” he said.

During his speech, the President also promised to help micro, small, and medium-scale enterprises, as well as farmers and fisherfolk deal with the effects of the lockdown.

“The government will provide a recovery package especially to SMEs to help deal with the economic effects of this pandemic. My economic deal is already creating the guidelines for this as I speak,” he said.

“To our farmers and our fisherfolk, we have not forgotten you and government is now employing quick response measures to help you during the crisis as well as ensure food productivity, availability and sufficiency during the period of the pandemic. Andito ang gobyerno para sa inyo,” he continued.