'Walang maiiwan': Manila to give P1,000 to families under coronavirus lockdown

MANILA, Philippines – The Manila City government will give out P1,000 from its own local government funds to 568,000 Manila families, amounting to a total of P591.5 million, to help them get by under the coronavirus lockdown.

Manila Mayor Isko Moreno announced the massive injection of cash relief on Sunday evening, April 5, after signing Ordinance No. 8625, also known as the City Amelioration Crisis Assistance Fund or CACAF.

The distribution of the cash aid will begin on Tuesday, April 7, and the city aims to complete the distribution by Thursday.

Who is eligible? Moreno said families under each barangay were listed by captains of the capital's 896 barangays. It is unclear if there are other qualifications needed aside from living in Manila.

The barangays counted a total of 568,0000 families under their watch, Moreno said. (READ: 'Walang-wala na': Poor Filipinos fear death from hunger more than coronavirus)

How will it work? The barangays will send a list of the eligible families under their area to the Manila City government. City Hall would then count the total families and release the funds to the barangays.

The barangays will distribute the funds, door-to-door, to each family. After giving the money, Moreno said barangay officials should give a receipt to the families.

Who will be prioritized? Moreno said they will prioritize releasing money to barangays that have not received relief goods in the past weeks. As of Sunday, the Manila City government has distributed relief goods to only to around 235,000 families in 352 barangays. The families under the 544 remaining barangays will be receive the cash aid first, Moreno said.

Moreno added that even after families receive P1,000, they will continue to give out relief packs. The bottleneck, he explained has been in the production of relief goods by Manila's suppliers.

Where the money comes from: Of the P591.5 million, P267.5 million came from the Manila City Development Fund, P200 million came from the Office of the Mayor's Maintenance and Other Operating Expenses, and P124 million came from the budget of the Manila Social Welfare Department.

The bulk came from the development fund, which was set to be used for beautification and infrastructure projects that Moreno had in store for his vision of renewing Manila's image.

"Ngayon, dahil gusto kong tupdin ang pangarap ko na walang maiiwan, ang ginawa po ng ating pamahalaang lungsod, yung mga pagawaing kalsada yung mga beautification, mga kolorete para maging maayos ang lungsod ay akin munang isinangtabi at nilikom na ang mga salaping yun," Moreno said. (Because I want to fulfil my promise that no one will be left behind, what our city government did was pool in funds for road construction and beautification projects for this.)

The challenge now: With the expected pump of cash to Manila families, the government will face the challenge of ensuring that markets are stocked.

Moreno and his fellow officials would also have to ensure that when people flock to the markets, physical distancing guidelines are followed to prevent the spread of disease and possibly even the coronavirus.

Moreno said he will provide updates on the distribution every night on his Facebook page. – Rappler.com

Rambo Talabong

Rambo Talabong covers security, crime, and the city of Manila for Rappler. He was chosen as a Jaime V. Ongpin Fellow in 2019 for his reporting on President Rodrigo Duterte’s war on drugs.

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