MANILA— At least 95 percent of the total P11.2 billion fund for cash aid meant to cushion the impact of the strictest lockdown in the capital region last August has already been released to beneficiaries, the Department of the Interior and Local Government (DILG) said Thursday.
In a statement, the DILG said some P10.7 billion in cash assistance was already distributed to 10,663,537 low-income individuals in Metro Manila. This was meant to help them through the enhanced community quarantine (ECQ) from Aug. 6 to 20.
The quarantine level has since been downgraded to modified ECQ until Sept. 7.
Interior Secretary Eduardo Año described the feat as a "victory" because the assistance was distributed fast amid the surge in new infections.
The DILG earlier extended the ayuda payout until the end of August.
“We commend them dahil sa kanilang mabilis na distribution ng ‘ayuda’ even in the middle of the Delta variant surge, habang patuloy na pinaiiral ang ating health protocols,” according to Año.
(We commend them because of their fast distribution of ayuda amid the Delta variant surge, and while we implement health protocols)
The remaining funds will be "disbursed the soonest time," he said.
Meanwhile, local government units that have "unclaimed funds" may process claims to their grievance and appeals committee until Sept. 10, the last day before the funds would be returned to the National Treasury.
The cities of Manila, Caloocan, Pasig, Malabon, Navotas, and Quezon City have already finished the ayuda payout to 6,536,554 beneficiaries, according to Año.
The Philippines is battling another surge of COVID-19 cases, which experts blamed on the more virulent Delta variant, that ripped through the health care system of its origin India at its peak in April.
This week, the World Health Organization said the country is already experiencing community transmission of the variant.
On Monday, the Philippines recorded a new high of 22,366 more COVID-19 infections.