No date yet for start of cash aid rollout in NCR ECQ

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Metro Manila (CNN Philippines, August 2) — No final date has been set yet for the official distribution of cash aid in Metro Manila which will go under enhanced community quarantine in a few days, Interior Secretary Eduardo Año said Monday.

"I cannot say the exact date pero para sa akin talaga sana the soonest possible time, kung pwede sana start ng ECQ, maka-start na tayo ng distribution," Año told CNN Philippines' The Source.

[Translation: I cannot say the exact date but for me, I hope at the soonest possible time we can do it at the start of the ECQ so we can quickly start the distribution.]

Año said they will follow the same formula that was followed during the distribution of the social amelioration program last April and May, when Metro Manila was also placed ECQ due to a COVID-19 surge.

Those who will be affected by the hard lockdown that will be in place from Aug. 6 to 20 may receive cash assistance of ₱1,000 each or up to a maximum ₱4,000 for a family.

"Kung ano ang ginawa noong April and May, more or less ay same figure at same amount. Of course, ang NCR mayors nagsasabi na bigyan sila ng kaunting flexibility because after two months maaaring may mga pagbabago. Pero hindi lalayo sa figure na iyon," Año said.

[Translation: Whatever we did last April and May, more or less it's the same figure and same amount. Of course the National Capital Region mayors are appealing that they be given more flexibility because after two months, things may change, but for now the figures are similar.]

In a separate briefing, Metropolitan Manila Development Authority chairman Benhur Abalos said mayors will try to address potential issues that may arise during the distribution, particularly on the final list of beneficiaries and the implementation of social distancing in different sites.

"Baka ang mangyari 'yung dating ginawa namin, pero we’ll just redo things para huwag maging superspreader events," he said.

[Translation: We might just do what we did the last time, but we will redo things in a way that they will not become superspreader events.]

Año said the technical working group for the government's social amelioration program — composed of the Department of Social Welfare and Development, Department of National Defense, and the Department of Interior and Local Government — is already preparing for the sourcing and the distribution of funds to eligible beneficiaries.

Presidential Spokesperson Harry Roque also expressed hope during his briefing that the government will finalize its next steps on funding cash subsidies before ECQ starts.

"Siguradong sigurado, walang ECQ na walang ayuda at ninanais po nating mabigay (ito) sa lalong madaling panahon bago pa po maglockdown. Kaya po nagbigay tayo ng isang linggong palugit among other reasons," he said.

[Translation: For sure, there will be no ECQ without any available subsidy, and we intend to give this even before the lockdown starts. That's why we had a one-week leeway among other reasons.]