Duterte wants military to help in COVID-19 cash aid distribution

Arianne Merez, ABS-CBN News

Posted at May 12 2020 10:14 AM | Updated as of May 12 2020 10:57 AM

Residents from Barangay Batasan Hills in Quezon City line up to receive cash under the social amelioration program amid the enhanced community quarantine on May 4, 2020. Mark Demayo, ABS-CBN News

MANILA- President Rodrigo Duterte said Tuesday he wants the military to help the Department of Social Welfare and Development in distributing cash aid to poor families during the coronavirus crisis.

Duterte, in a public address, said he asked former military general and now Social Welfare Secretary Rolando Bautista to seek the help of soldiers, particularly female ones, in the distribution of emergency subsidies.

"Ang order ko sa kanya, kanina nung nag-meeting kami na he will request na kapwa niya sundalo noon --- eh retired na ‘to, that’s why he’s with the Cabinet --- na magpatulong siya sa Armed Forces pag-distribute ng pera," the President said in a taped address aired Tuesday.

(My order to him is to request his fellow soldiers since he is a retired one, to seek the help of the Armed Forces in the distribution of money.)

The government initially allotted P200 billion as cash aid to the country's poorest families for 2 months during the pandemic. The program will be expanded to cover 5 million more families.

Duterte said women soldiers may be commissioned to help out in the program given that they have more "empathy."

He, however, warned against attacks on state troops following reports that communist rebels have killed soldiers helping in coronavirus relief operations.

"But I have also issued a caveat, a warning, na ayaw ko na ngayon na mamamatay pa na sundalo, babae o lalaki, na in-ambush ng mga NPA at kinuha ‘yung pera o ‘yung mga supply na pagkain, bigas, sardinas, kung ano pa at ‘yung baril," the President said.

(I don't want even one soldier, whether woman or man, to be ambushed by the NPA. I don't want the NPA to get their money, food supplies, rice, sardines, and even guns.)

A total of 1,265 local government units met the deadline for the distribution of the first tranche of the emergency subsidies for the coronavirus crisis, the Department of the Interior and Local Government said Monday.

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