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Cash aid allocated for ECQ to cover MECQ period in NCR Plus —DILG

The Department of the Interior and Local Government (DILG) on Tuesday said the cash aid for residents affected by the enhanced community quarantine (ECQ) in NCR Plus will also cover the period of modified ECQ.

"Base po sa advice sa amin ng Department of Budget and Management, ito na po yun. Ito na po ‘yung ayuda natin para sa ating mga kababayan na apektado ng ECQ," DILG Undersecretary Jonathan Malaya said on Unang Balita.

[Based on the advice of the Department of Budget and Management, this is already it. This is already the cash aid for the residents who are affected by the ECQ.)

Malaya, the department's spokesperson, was replying to question on if the government will provide additional assistance after placing NCR Plus under MECQ, a quarantine protocol that will last until April 30.

Due to the rising COVID-19 cases, the government placed National Capital Region, Bulacan, Cavite, Laguna, and Rizal — collectively called NCR Plus — under ECQ from March 29 to April 4.

Under the strictest community quarantine classification, the mobility of people is restricted as well as the operation of some businesses.

The government allocated P22.9 billion for a cash assistance program for the affected residents. They will receive an assistance of P1,000 per individual with a maximum of P4,000 per family.

The ECQ in NCR Plus had been extended for a week from April 5 to April 11. It was downgraded to MECQ, which will last until April 30

Malaya also said the distribution of the cash aid will continue even if NCR Plus is no longer under ECQ.

"Kahit po tapos na yung ECQ tuloy-tuloy lang po itong pamimigay natin (Even if we're no longer under ECQ the distribution would continue)," Malaya said.

According to the Department of Social Welfare and Development (DSWD), only 8% of the allocated P22.9 billion in financial assistance was disbursed in the NCR Plus area so far.

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

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. 

DSWD spokesperson Irene Dumlao said local governments are already working to speed up the distribution of assistance in the affected areas.  —KBK, GMA News