MANILA, Philippines – The Duterte government plans to hand out P8,000 ($157.25)* to around 17.9 million disenfranchised Filipino families to cushion the impact of the multiple and widespread lockdowns across the country intended to prevent the spread of the novel coronavirus.
This was announced during the government-run Laging Handa advisory program on Sunday, March 22, by Albay 2nd District Representative Joey Salceda, saying that Congress plans to approve a P275-billion budget alignment during Monday’s special session.
Who will get P8,000? Salceda said minimum wage earners who have been prevented from working because of a lockdown can avail of the assistance, which he dubbed as “pantawid quarantine” or aid to get by during the quarantine.
Others planned to be included are tricycle drivers, jeepney drivers, and farmers who could not work. The timeline remains unclear for the release of the proposed aid.
Why the aid? The congressman noted that the savings of many Filipinos under lockdown are already running out. Local governments have also sent out a cry for help as they reach for funds to respond to the outbreak.
“The national government really needs to step in,” Salceda said.
The breakdown: Salceda said P144 billion of the P275 billion proposed realignment was set aside for the massive financial aid package.
Other proposed measures, Salceda said, included hazard pay for frontline workers, and nutrition supplements for senior citizens, who are the most vulnerable to the coronavirus disease (COVID-19). – Rappler.com
*1$ = P50.98