Gov't extends cash aid distribution in NCR, other areas for another week

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Metro Manila (CNN Philippines, April 30) - Local government units in Metro Manila and six other high-density areas will continue their distribution of cash subsidies for another week.

Interior Secretary Eduardo Año said Thursday that they have granted a one-week extension for the distribution of cash assistance from the social amelioration program in Metro Manila, Cavite, Rizal, Laguna, Bulacan, Cebu City, and Davao City.

A four-day extension has been granted to other LGUs outside of these areas which are also experiencing similar problems on aid distribution.

"Pinag-aralan namin ni [Social Welfare Secretary Rolando Bautista] iyong situation ng Metro Manila at iba pang lugar na may high density population ng urban poor families," Año said during the briefing.

[Translation: Social Welfare Secretary Rolando Bautista and I studied the situation in Metro Manila and other areas with high density population of urban poor families.]

"Valid naman iyong kanilang reasons kasi kaya namang i-distribute 'yan sa takdang oras pero ma-va-violate ang social distancing," he said.

[Translation: The reasons of these LGUs are valid because aid can be distributed at a proper time but this would violate social distancing measures.]

Also on Thursday, San Juan City Mayor Francis Zamora said in a radio interview that he and other Metro Manila mayors have requested for an extension for the payment of cash subsidies to beneficiaries, citing problems in validation of beneficiaries and house-to-house distribution in areas with high COVID-19 cases.

The national government initially set April 30 as the deadline for the distribution of cash assistance ranging from ₱5,000 to ₱8,000 for two months as part of its ₱200-billion social aid package to 18 million low-income families affected by the Luzon-wide quarantine amid the COVID-19 crisis.

The Department of Social Welfare and Development said that it has already released ₱80.8 billion to 1,515 LGUs to date. Of this amount, ₱50.1 billion has been distributed to 9.5 million families, according to the LGUs.

Only 104 LGUs have so far completed their aid distribution out of 1,634 LGUs in the Philippines, Bautista said.