Duterte OKs granting cash aid of up to ₱4,000 to Metro Manila households for August lockdown

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Metro Manila (CNN Philippines, August 2) — President Rodrigo Duterte has approved granting cash aid to nearly 11 million individuals in Metro Manila during the hard lockdown starting Friday, officials confirmed on Monday.

Around 80% of the 13 million residents in Metro Manila are set to receive ₱1,000 financial assistance — or a maximum of ₱4,000 per household — during the strictest enhanced community quarantine period from Aug. 6 to 20.

Senator Bong Go, who attended the televised meeting with President Rodrigo Duterte on Monday, confirmed this was approved by the chief executive.

Presidential Spokesperson Harry Roque said the financial assistance to 10.8 million Metro Manila residents is assured, but the source of funds remains a question.

"Ang hindi lang sigurado, saan kukunin. Pero ang mandato ng Presidente, humanap kayo ng pera," said Roque, adding that budget officials will be meeting with concerned agencies this afternoon regarding sources of funding.

[Translation: What is not sure is where this (cash aid) will come from. But the President's mandate is clear, look for funding.]

The National Capital Region, currently under general community quarantine with heightened and additional restrictions, will return to a two-week ECQ starting Aug. 6 after mayors sought tighter quarantine measures as COVID-19 cases continue to rise amid the threat of the Delta variant.

The government is aiming to distribute the cash assistance to affected households before the ECQ takes effect, Roque added.

Undersecretary Tina Rose Marie Canda, office-in-charge of the Department of Budget and Management, said the cash aid funds will be coursed through local governments, adding that the DBM is looking for ways to ensure LGUs will receive them directly.

Canda said approximately 19 million people ​in areas under ECQ will benefit from the latest round of assistance.

Meanwhile, Chairman Benhur Abalos Jr. of the Metropolitan Manila Development Authority said the distribution of cash aid will still be done in queue system, noting that it may not finish on time if done house-to-house.

The MMDA chief assured that a better procedure will be implemented during this round of cash aid distribution to ensure social distancing.

CNN Philippines correspondent Melissa Lopez contributed to this report.