MANILA - Pasig Mayor Vico Sotto on Monday said cash aid for indigent residents of the city will be given out through small "distribution centers" starting Aug. 11.
Each distribution site will cater to "small bubbles" within barangays to ensure that recipients will not swarm to receive their cash aid, Sotto told reporters in an online press conference.
"Yung cash kasi, mahirap i-house to house. Nasubukan na rin namin," he said.
(House to house distribution of cash is difficult. We've tried it.)
"Kailangan pa rin ng pay-out sites (We still need pay-out sites). We just need to make sure that they are small and manageable," he added.
"Our goal is to minimize the lines. Ibig sabihin, ilang tao lang ang nakapila (This means only a few people must be in line) at any given time."
Pasig cannot distribute the cash aid through online payment channels as most indigent recipients do not have access to these platforms, the mayor said.
"'Yung mga walang access dito, sila 'yung mas dapat nating tulungan. Sila po 'yung walang internet, walang smart phone," he said.
(Those that do not have access to these are the ones we need to help the most. They have no internet access, no smart phones.)
"Kapag sinabi nating via PayMaya, hindi nila alam paano i-verify account nila. Doon magkakaproblema so kailangan natin ng means na universal at lahat maaabot natin," he said.
(If we tell them we'll do it via PayMaya, they don't know how to verify their accounts. That's what makes it problematic, so we need a means that is universal so we can reach everybody.)
Sotto admitted he is not 100 percent confident that the local government can distribute the P650-million cash aid within 15 days as prescribed by the Department of the Interior and Local Government (DILG).
"Para sabihin na 15 days na 100 percent, aaminin ko na ngayon na medyo mahirap po yun," he said.
"Ang daming puwedeng mangyari. Puwede magkaroon ng thunderstorm, malakas na ulan, magka-positive na kailangan i-quarantine yung team," he said.
(I will admit now that it might be hard to accomplish 100 percent distribution in 15 days. A lot of things can happen, like thunderstorms, heavy rain, or a team member testing positive for COVID-19 and must undergo quarantine.)
Last week, the national government gave Pasig some P650 million for cash aid, which is P30 million less than the amount the city got last year.
The city will prioritize giving the cash aid to families living in "pockets of poverty," Sotto said.
Some 30,000 individuals will receive food packs instead of cash, he said.
"Hindi naman kami nagrereklamo. Hinihingi lang namin ang pang-unawa ng tao na hindi lahat makakatanggap ngayon," he said.
(We are not complaining. We are just asking for the public's understanding that not everyone will receive cash aid this time around.)
Pasig City and other Metro Manila cities received cash aid from the national government last week to help National Capital Region residents get by during the Aug. 6-20 lockdown in the capital region.
Metro Manila was placed under the strictest lockdown classification for the third time since the COVID-19 pandemic began after new cases rose amid the spread of the Delta variant.