MANILA— The city government of San Juan has started distributing cash assistance to medical and non-medical frontliners involved in the city’s COVID-19 response and interventions.
Around 2,500 medical and non-medical workers will receive the cash aid— P5,000 for medical frontliners and P3,000 for non-medical frontliners— during the 5-day distribution.
San Juan City Mayor Francis Zamora said these frontliners are assigned in handling COVID-19 interventions such as contact tracing swabbing, isolation, treatment, patient transport, hospitalization, community quarantine, cash aid or ayuda distribution, and vaccination.
"Ito’y aming paraan na ipakita sa kanila na kami ay lubos na nagpapasalamat sa kanilang dedikasyon at serbisyo. Ang kanilang pagsisikap ay nagbunga dahil 135 percent na ng aming target population ay fully vaccinated,” Zamora told the media in San Juan City.
(This is our way of showing our gratitude to our frontliners for their dedication and service. Their perseverance has paid off because 135 percent of our target population has been fully vaccinated.)
On Friday, around 1,000 frontliners from the the San Juan Medical Center and City Health Office received the cash incentive.
“Sa SJMC, although pandemic at maraming cases, responsibility naming pumasok every day at makihalubilo sa mga tao doon. Very strict naman ang pagpapatupad ng MHPs (minimum health protocols). Sacrifices mo bilang frontliner at worries mo at iniisip na baka magka-COVID ka, iniisantabi mo siya para makapagsilbi ka at magampanan ang trabaho,” said Angie Luciano, who works as a cashier at the SJMC.
(In SMJC, although it's a pandemic and there are a lot of cases, it's our responsibility to interact and talk to the people there. The implementation of minimum health protocols are very strict. You set aside your worries over catching COVID-19 to carry out your work.)
Nurse aide Zata of the City Health Office added: “Medyo challenging siya talaga. Since nag-start ang pandemic, pati ang programs at activities namin sa CHO, we had to adjust. Since may COVID, nahati ang time namin. We spend most of the time sa vaccination area, kahit sa ayuda, nagbibigay kami ng ayuda. Sa other days, nasa health center naman kami to provide services sa community. Even Saturdays and Sundays, nagtatrabaho kami, lalo 'pag may services na dapat i-render."
(This is very challenging. Since the start of the pandemic, even the programs and activities of the City Health Office, we had to adjust. Since there was COVID-19, our time was split and we spend most of our time in the vaccination area and distribution of aid. On other days we are at the health center to provide services to the community. We even work on Saturdays and Sundays, especially if we have to render services.)
“Very big help ito lalo ngayon, financially kasi, ang hirap talaga ng buhay. With the assistance of the LGU, nao-augment naman ang pagod namin. With a little help like this, nasu-sustain namin ang binibigay ng family namin. Not all family members can work, most of the time, kami ang kumikita.”
(This is a huge help right now because life is rough financially. With the LGU's assistance, we were able to augment our exhaustion. We are able to sustain what we give our family. Not all family members can work, most of the time, we are the ones making income.)
Employees of the City Information Technology Office, City Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Office, San Juan City Police and San Juan City Bureau of Fire Protection, and officials and volunteers of the 21 barangays in the city will also be given cash assistance.
“One simple rule— basta bahagi ka ng COVID-19 response at interventions, malaki man o maliit ang inyong tungkulin, kayo ay makakatanggap ng financial incentives. Unang araw pa lang ito. Siguro mga 5-6 araw ito na distribution,” Zamora said.
(One simple rule: As long as you are part of the COVID-19 response and interventions, no matter how big or small, we are able to receive financial incentives. This is just the first day, and we will take maybe around 5 to 6 days for the distribution.)
Nearly P92 million of the P101 million allocated for financial aid for those affected by the recent enhanced community quarantine in Metro Manila have been disbursed in San Juan City.
Zamora said if those who have yet to claim will not be able to get their ayuda, the remaining funds will be reallocated and given to other recipients.
“Sa ayuda, we are now 90 percent in terms of our disbursement. Ang ginagawa natin ngayon, binibigyan na ng 2nd chance ang mga hindi naka-claim during the 1st time na nag-schedule sa kanila. Ang mga pumirma sa grievance list ay ating vini-verify na. Once makuha ang total remaining balance, 'yan ang gagamitin sa qualified na papasa sa grievance list,” he explained.
(For the aid, we are now 90 percent in terms of our disbursement. What we're doing right now is that we're giving a second chance to people who were not able to claim their aid for the first time. We also verify people included in the grievance list. Once they receive the total remaining balance, that's what we'll use for those who will pass the grievance list.)
Zamora said San Juan City is prepared should the Inter-Agency Task Force decide to lift large-scale lockdowns and instead implement granular lockdowns to curb the spread of COVID-19.
Interior Secretary Eduardo Año told ABS-CBN’s Teleradyo on Friday that the shift of policy may start in early September, but the proposal has yet to be approved by President Rodrigo Duterte.
Granular lockdowns are normally imposed on a particular street or compound with high COVID-19 cases.
Currently, there are around 10 areas placed under granular lockdown in San Juan City.
“Before, we’d only have 1-3 [areas under granular lockdown]. If the policy of the IATF will be like this, handa ang San Juan (San Juan is ready)," said Zamora.
"Sumasang-ayon ako na kung ang isang lugar ay nakikitaan ng mataas na bilang ng mga kaso, dapat lang itong i-granular lockdown. Huwag nang idamay ang ibang lugar na wala namang kaso,” Zamora said.
(I agree that areas with high cases should be placed under granular lockdowns, let's not affect other areas that do not have cases at all.)
He added that they are handing out aid to residents affected by the granular lockdown, and aid for people transferring to quarantine facilities.
"Gusto natin wala na silang alalahanin kundi gumaling. Ang P3,000 tulong sa kanila para habang sila ay nasa quarantine, may pambili ng pagkain at gamot ang kanilang pamilya," he said.
(We want nothing else than for them than to just think about getting better. The P3,000 aid will help them buy food and medicine for their families.)
The local chief executive said even authorized persons outside their residence must be prohibited from leaving their homes under granular lockdowns.
WE VAXX AS ONE
Zamora said the city government is ready to vaccinate non-residents to help protect more people against COVID-19 and its more contagious Delta variant.
As of August 26, San Juan City has already vaccinated over 176,000 residents and workers with their first dose, equivalent to 199% of its target population, while over 119,000 have been fully vaccinated, equivalent to 136% of its target population.
But the mayor said the city is still waiting for the centralized database from the Department of Information and Communications Technology to determine the people who have already been vaccinated in other cities or provinces.