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DSWD: Only 8% of P22.9-B cash aid for ECQ beneficiaries disbursed

Only 8% of the allocated P22.9 billion in financial assistance was disbursed in the NCR Plus area which was under an enhanced community quarantine (ECQ) for two weeks, the Department of Social Welfare and Development (DSWD) said Monday.

In a televised Talk to the Nation briefing with President Rodrigo Duterte, DSWD Chief Rolando Bautista said P1,757,281,000 of the P22,915,422,000 social amelioration program fund was disbursed to constituents bearing the brunt of the lockdown.

"As of April 11, based na rin sa data ng DILG (Department of the Interior and Local Government), ang actual beneficiaries paid ay 1,757,281 and amount disbursed is P1,751,281,000 so eight percent na ang amount disbursed," said Bautista during his presentation.

He also admitted that there was a "slow start" in the disbursement of assistance, but he vowed that distribution would accelerate after a few days.

"Makikita po natin dito na talagang may slow start but as experienced last year, na talagang start po talagang mabagal, after 4 to 5 days doon na po nagstart ng pagdistribute ng special assistance," DSWD chief pointed out.

Of the disbursed funds, Metro Manila residents received the most cash aid with more than P1.5 billion funds distributed to 1.5 million beneficiaries.

The national government allocated P22 billion for 22.9 million beneficiaries in Metro Manila, Rizal, Bulacan, Cavite and Laguna. The government also let the local governments decide on whether to give assistance in cash or in kind.

The funds were tapped from the unutilized funds under the Bayanihan to Recover As One Act, the Department of Budget and Management previously said.

However, the two-week ECQ already ended on April 11, Sunday as distribution of the financial assistance at the NCR plus bubble has yet to be completed.

Currently, the government placed Metro Manila and nearby areas under modified enhanced community quarantine until the end of April as virus infections continue to rise to more than 10,000 new cases per day.— DVM, GMA News