COVID-19 cash aid distribution now at 61 percent: Malaya

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MANILA – The distribution of cash aid to millions of poor families under the social amelioration program of the national government amid the COVID-19 crisis is now 61 percent complete, Interior Undersecretary Jonathan Malaya said Saturday.

Malaya said this could be because distribution at the local government level has improved.

"Base sa report na nakalap natin sa DILG regional offices sa buong bansa, umabot na po kagabi nang 61 percent ang nabigyan na ng social amelioration program doon sa 18 million families. Mukhang pong gumaganda na ang distribution ng ating local government units nationwide," Malaya said.

(Based on the report that we collected from Department of the Interior and Local Government regional offices in the country, last night distribution has reached 61 percent of 18 million families. It looks like distribution by our local government units nationwide has improved.)

Malaya said local government units are working double time to distribute the cash aid to qualified beneficiaries.

"I would think baka umabot tayo by 70 percent by tomorrow," he said at a Laging Handa briefing.

The DILG and the Department of Social Welfare and Development (DSWD) extended the deadline for the distribution of cash aid until May 7 after many LGUs expressed difficulties in distributing the aid to qualified beneficiaries.

The original deadline was supposed to be on April 30, the end of the Luzon-wide lockdown. The enhanced community quarantine has since been extended until May 15 in Metro Manila and other areas at high risk for COVID-19.

"Hinihinikayat ng DILG ang lahat ng local government units na seryosohin na natin ito, tuloy-tuloy na itong ibigay kasi wala na pong ibibigay na extension si Sec. Eduardo Año at Sec. Rolly Bautista. No more extension. You are only given up to May 7 to finish the distribution," he said.

(The DILG is encouraging all local government units to take this seriously, continue the distribution because there will be no more extension.)

The program extends a cash aid of P5,000 to P8,000 for each of two months (April and May) to the country's poor families to help them cope with the economic impact of the COVID-19 crisis.

On Saturday, Presidential spokesperson Harry Roque said 5 more million Filipinos would receive the cash aid in addition to the 18 million on the initial list.

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