MANILA - The Department of the Interior and Local Government (DILG) on Wednesday said the government would extend the distribution of cash aid among poor Metro Manila residents until the end of August, following the clamor of local chief executives.
In a statement, the DILG said government was able to distribute P9.1-billion or 80.96 percent of the P11.2-billion financial cash assistance as of Tuesday.
“The mayors also need more time to process appeals and grievances so it is justified for us to give an extension,” Interior Secretary Eduardo Año said.
Social Welfare Secretary Rolando Bautista and Defense Secretary Delfin Lorenzana "concurred" with the mayors' appeal, who are grappling with "limited manpower" amid the surge of infections in the region, according to Año.
Before this, the local chief executives were given 15 days to complete the payout, which started on Aug. 11.
Only Caloocan City was able to finish distributing the cash aid ahead of the deadline, according to DILG.
“This is the fastest distribution we’ve had in NCR since the start of the pandemic and we did this with people complying with minimum health standards," he added.
He pointed out that 9,101,999 low-income residents already claimed the financial assistance from Aug. 11 until Tuesday.
The cash aid was meant to cushion the effect of Metro Manila's return to the 2-week enhanced community quarantine (ECQ) on Aug. 6 to Aug. 20.
This was downgraded to the modified ECQ until the end of the month.
The Philippines is battling a surge of new infections, likely driven by the more transmissible COVID-19 Delta variant.
On Wednesday, the health department confirmed 13,573 new cases, with the active infections reaching over 125,000.