Local government units (LGUs) in the National Capital Region have distributed PHP4.47 billion, or 40.07 percent of the funds earmarked by the national government as financial assistance to 4,477,090 low-income individuals, the Department of the Interior and Local Government (DILG) reported on April 17, 2021.
“Pursigido po ang mga LGUs sa pamamahagi ng ayuda kaya (The LGUs are determined to distribute the assistance that’s why) they have been working hard to ensure that the financial aid reaches the intended beneficiaries,” DILG Undersecretary and Spokesperson Jonathan Malaya said in a news release.
President Rodrigo Duterte approved the release of PHP22.9-billion “ayuda” (assistance) for 22.9 million low-income individuals in NCR Plus, which includes Bulacan, Rizal, Laguna, and Cavite.
Each beneficiary will receive PHP1,000 or up to a maximum of PHP4,000 per family.
Mandaluyong, San Juan, Quezon City, and Navotas topped the list of Metro Manila LGUs that have distributed the most financial assistance to their constituents and are more than halfway through their distribution.
Mandaluyong has distributed PHP243.368 million (66.75 percent); San Juan has given out PHP62.77 million (63.78 percent); Quezon City has disbursed PHP1.559 billion (62.83 percent); Navotas has released PHP108.36 million (54.22 percent); and Caloocan PHP639.8 million (47.89 percent).
LGUs are given 15 days to distribute cash and 30 days for in-kind assistance upon receipt of the funds from the national government.
The DILG and Department of Social Welfare and Development committed to grant requests for an extension for justifiable reasons.
The DILG commended the LGUs for their hard work and perseverance in distributing the “ayuda” even beyond office hours and sometimes until the wee hours of the night.
“The DILG salutes LGUs for their hard work and patience in distributing cash aid. You prove that you are able and reliable leaders,” Malaya said.
Under the Joint Memorandum Circular, priority target beneficiaries of the said financial assistance are low-income individuals and those working in informal economies who were beneficiaries of the first tranche of Social Amelioration Program (SAP), additional beneficiaries in SAP 2, SAP wait-listed beneficiaries, and those belonging to vulnerable groups such as low-income individuals living alone, persons with disabilities, solo parents, and the like.
Malaya reminded LGUs to strictly impose physical distancing and wearing of masks and face shields during distribution.
“While we want the ayuda to reach our people quickly, we do not want the distribution to become super spreader events. We, therefore, call on our LGUs to enforce measures to ensure that the public observes minimum public health standards during the distribution proper,” he said.
The Philippine National Police, which is part of the Joint Monitoring and Inspection Team headed by the DILG, has also been directed to assist LGUs in implementing minimum health standards.
Malaya also lauded the efforts of some LGUs, like the City of Biñan in Laguna, where Mayor Arman Dimaguila mobilized city government employees and other volunteers to distribute the “ayuda” door-to-door.