5M more households to get 2nd tranche of coronavirus cash aid – Malacañang memo

Pia Ranada
5M more households to get 2nd tranche of coronavirus cash aid – Malacañang memo
A majority of these additional households will be residents of areas under ECQ

MANILA, Philippines – Malacañang  ordered the national coronavirus task force to include 5 million households as beneficiaries of the second tranche of emergency subsidies.

In a memo dated May 12, Executive Secretary Salvador Medialdea said that 5 million “eligible households” be added to the 12 million low-income households who received cash aid through the Assistance to Individuals in Crisis Situation (AICS).

Among the emergency subsidy programs of the government during the COVID-19 pandemic, AICS is under of the Department of Social Welfare and Development (DSWD).

The inclusion of households to the list would be “subject to validation by concerned national government agencies” in coordination with local governments, read the memo.

It also stated that priority would be given to low-income households in areas under Enhanced Community Quarantine (ECQ), the strictest form of lockdown in the country.

However, families in GCQ areas may still be considered, depending on their circumstance.

“While it is only natural that most beneficiaries would come from those still living in Enhanced Community Quarantine areas, as stricter kinds of community quarantine deprive more people of the means of support, household beneficiaries most affected by the continuing restrictions in the operation of certain industries and areas under General Community Quarantine may still be considered for the Second Tranche,” said the order.

Only Cebu City and Mandaue City are under ECQ until May 31. Metro Manila, Bataan, Bulacan, Nueva Ecija, Pampanga, Zambales, Angeles City, Laguna are under modified ECQ.

President Rodrigo Duterte had earlier asked the Department of Budget and Management to look for funds that can be used to ensure families that received the first tranche of cash subsidies also be given the second tranche, even if their areas were downgraded to GCQ.

AICS was to be distributed to a total of 18 million recipients, including 4.4 million 4Ps beneficiaries, 13.5 million non-4Ps beneficiaries, and 90,000 public utility drivers who have no income due to the suspension of public transportation.

Online platform. The same Palace memo ordered the speeding up of the creation of an online platform that would show the names of eligible beneficiaries of emergency cash aid.

The platform is to be a project of the Department of Information and Communications Technology (DICT), National Privacy Commission, and DSWD.

The database must include details like the barangay of the beneficiary, their town or city, region, and the specific emergency subsidy program they are to benefit from.

It must also be a mechanism that allows the public to send feedback on the release of aid to the government for better monitoring and to check if some areas were not covered by the programs.

It’s also supposed to help in “determining whether an investigation against specific persons is necessary,” read the memo. – Rappler.com

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Pia Ranada

Pia Ranada is a senior reporter for Rappler covering Philippine politics and environmental issues. For tips and story suggestions, email her at pia.ranada@rappler.com.