Gov't doing nothing? Duterte says 'we are distributing billions'

Jamaine Punzalan, ABS-CBN News

Posted at May 18 2021 10:37 AM | Updated as of May 18 2021 11:00 AM

Gov't doing nothing? Duterte says 'we are distributing billions' 1
Maidy Pahaty hands out the government’s financial aid at a covered court in Barangay Tibaguin, Hagonoy, Bulacan on April 20, 2021. The 49-year-old supply officer of the municipal treasury office was assigned Php 417,000 to give out to beneficiaries. George Calvelo, ABS-CBN News/File

MANILA — President Rodrigo Duterte said the government is "distributing billions" in cash aid, as he rejected criticism of supposed inaction over the COVID-19 crisis. 

Interior Secretary Eduardo Año, in a taped meeting with Duterte, said authorities have so far distributed about P21.18 billion of the P22.9 billion funds that government set aside for cash aid for low-income earners in Metro Manila and 4 provinces that were recently under the toughest lockdown level. 

"Marami nagsasabi, ‘Kami lang ang namimigay, kayo wala.’ Really? Nakita n’yo ‘yong statistics, binigay ni Secretary Año? We are distributing billions," the President said. 

"Namimigay kami ng ayuda sa mahihirap… Nauna pa kami noon, and we are giving money. ‘Yon lang ang pinaka most expeditious way of doing it," he added. 

(Many say, 'We're the only ones giving aid, you don't. Really? Did you see the statistics that Secretary Año gave? We are distributing billions. We give aid to the poor. We were the first, and we are giving money. That is the expeditious way of doing it.)

Duterte said officials sacrifice time and effort to attend a weekly televised meeting on the COVID-19 crisis with him so that people will know "what is going on." 

"Kami lahat dito, hindi kami pumoporma," he said. 

(All of us here, we are not posturing.) 

Local government were earlier given until May 15 to complete the cash aid distribution. 

With more than 1.1 million infections and about 19,000 deaths, the Philippines ranks second in Southeast Asia in terms of COVID-19 cases. 

Video courtesy of PTV