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Pasig gives food packs to poor residents, readies financial aid for workers

JC Gotinga
Pasig gives food packs to poor residents, readies financial aid for workers
Pasig City is rationing 400,000 bags of rice and canned meat among its poor communities, says Mayor Vico Sotto

MANILA, Philippines – The Pasig City government has started distributing food relief packs to residents of poor communities, as it prepares financial aid for informal workers unable to earn during the coronavirus lockdown, Mayor Vico Sotto said on Monday, March 23.

The city is giving out 400,000 food packs containing the following:

  • 3 kilograms of well-milled rice
  • 2 cans of sardines
  • 2 cans of corned tuna
  • 2 cans of corned beef
  • 2 cans of meat loaf

Each bag costs around P397, and the whole project is estimated at P158.8 million, classified as emergency procurement. (READ: Vico Sotto vows full salaries for all Psig government workers during lockdown)

Sotto emphasized that the effort is meant for the city’s poor.

“Hindi po natin mabibigyan ang lahat. Tandaan na maaari pang tumagal ang krisis na ito, at hindi natin puwedeng ubusin ang resources natin sa isang linggo lamang,” Sotto said in a social media post.

(We can’t give [a food pack] to everyone. Remember that this crisis may go on longer, and we can’t use up our resources in a single week.)

Last Christmas, Pasig also gave out 400,000 food packs as gifts to every family, but it was a one-time handout. This time, the distribution is “targeted” to make the supply last longer, Sotto said.

The mayor appealed for patience and cooperation as barangay workers distribute the goods. Recipients are urged to practice physical distancing when they claim their food packs. The local government is unable to deliver the packs door-to-door at the moment, Sotto said.

FOOD FOR FAMILIES. Each food pack contains 3 kilos of rice, and 2 cans each of sardines, corned tuna, corned beef, and meat loaf. Photo from Pasig City Mayor Vico Sotto's Facebook page

Financial aid

The Pasig government is also preparing financial assistance for informal workers who are displaced from their sources of income because of the lockdown.

“Susunod na rin po diyan ‘yung financial assistance naman na ibibigay natin sa mga hindi makapagtinda na vendors, pati pa sa mga tricycle drivers, jeepney drivers natin,” Sotto said during Malacañang’s televised Laging Handa briefing on Monday.

(Up next is the financial assistance that we will give to vendors who are unable to sell, and also our tricycle drivers and jeepney drivers.)

Rappler asked Sotto for further details, but he had yet to respond as of this posting.

The biggest challenge of the city government is to provide for its many constituents who are unable to earn a living during the lockdown, and although they understand the need for the measure, it will become a big problem when jobless families start to go hungry, the mayor said during the briefing.

Pasig, along with the rest of Metro Manila, will be on “enhanced community quarantine” until April 14. The lockdown on the rest of Luzon is set to be lifted after April 12.

During the lockdown, all non-essential work and travel are prohibited, and all modes of public transportation are grounded.

All these, to avert the spread of the novel coronavirus. The Philippines has recorded 396 confirmed cases as of Monday morning, with 33 deaths and 18 recoveries. – Rappler.com

JC Gotinga

JC Gotinga often reports about the West Philippine Sea, the communist insurgency, and terrorism as he covers national defense and security for Rappler. He enjoys telling stories about his hometown, Pasig City. JC has worked with Al Jazeera, CNN Philippines, News5, and CBN Asia.