Lawmakers urged: Postpone infra projects, spend more on COVID-19 aid

ABS-CBN News

Posted at Apr 20 2021 11:57 AM

Since the government reimposed the enhanced community quarantine (ECQ), indigent residents in Metro Manila and nearby provinces had no choice but to wait for the government's cash dole-out under the Social Amelioration Program (SAP) for their daily needs. George Calvelo, ABS-CBN News

MANILA - A workers' group on Tuesday urged lawmakers to postpone some infrastructure or other government projects that can wait and use the funds for COVID-19 assistance.

Only one-third of 11 million beneficiaries have so far received pandemic aid, the Department of the Interior and Local Government said last week as it moved to extend the 15-day distribution period for cash assistance.

Local governments can hire additional personnel and give them allowance to hasten the distribution of aid, said Ayuda Network convenor Rey Sumayo.

"‘Yung pwedeng baguhin o mag-antay muna 'yung ibang infrastructure o project magkaroon ng resolution sa Senate o Congress sana baguhin muna 'yun, hindi muna iimplement kundi hihiramin muna ang pera para magamit pangdagdag sa mga ayuda," he told ANC's Headstart.

(Senate or Congress should adopt a resolution on postponing projects that can wait so we can borrow the money for additional budget for COVID-19 assistance.)

"Ang problema lang sa IATF parang absolute. Kung ano ang decision nila yun na 'yun dahil ang tingin nila wala silang pagkakamali, pagkukulang kaya hindi siya masyadong bukas sa direct na participation ng mga tao."

(The problem with the IATF is its decisions are absolute because they think they can't do any wrong, they're not very open to direct participation of the people.)

Mayors can designate the distribution of COVID-19 assistance to barangay officials, said Martin Diño, DILG undersecretary for Barangay Affairs.

House-to-house distribution is also ideal to avoid problems in observing physical distancing in queues, he added.

"Pagdating dun papirmahin ang beneficiary at kuhanan ng picture kamukha ng ginagawa natin halimbawa 'pag nagorder ka," he said.

(Let the beneficiary sign and take their picture, just like what we do when we order [deliveries].)

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