Vice President Leni Robredo said Thursday that fund releases for the government's anti-communist task force should be suspended and should instead be spent on cash aid for low income families who will be affected by enhanced community quarantine (ECQ).
Robredo was referring to the P19 billion budget of the National Task Force to End Local Communist Armed Conflict, of which P16 billion are allocated for Barangay Development Fund which are granted to supposed communist-free barangays as determined by the task force.
“Nabalitaan natin ‘yung pag-release ng bilyon-bilyong pondo para sa National Task Force to End Local Communist Armed Conflict. Habang hindi pa tayo nakakaahon mula sa pandemya, ipagpaliban muna natin ito at tiyakin na walang Pilipinong magugutom. Madaming nangangailangan ng tulong natin, lalo na ‘yung ECQ-affected families,” she said.
(We understand there are billions of funds released for NTF-ELCAC. While we are yet to recover from this pandemic, the fund releases should be suspended and we should ensure that our people will not go hungry. A lot of people need help, especially those affected by the ECQ.)
“Sa panahong ito, dapat wala tayong ibang priority kundi ‘yung makapagbigay ng agarang tulong sa mga pamilyang apektado ng lockdown, lalo na ‘yung mga nawalan ng kabuhayan,” Robredo added.
(At this time, our only priority should be to aid the lockdown-affected families, particularly those who lost their livelihood.)
Robredo then cited that while the government has allotted P13.1 billion to provide a one-time cash grant to about 10.7 million Metro Manila residents or maximum of P4,000 per family who will be affected by the ECQ protocol from from August 6 to 20, such amount may not even be enough to pay for their monthly rent.
“There are 4.2 million Filipino families who experienced involuntary hunger in May and 3.7 million unemployed Filipinos in June. We need to make sure the cash grant will reach each one of them, para kahit papaano maibsan ‘yung paghihirap nila (to ease their hardship),” she said.
The Vice President earlier called for intensified COVID-19 vaccination and COVID-19 testing on a daily basis during the August ECQ in Metro Manila, saying these figures should reach 750,000 and 120,000 daily, respectively.
Robredo said her office is also ready to assist the government in such efforts.
"From our end, naka-all hands on deck ang OVP para makapagparating ng tulong sa mga communities, tulad ng mga food and relief packages (We, at the OVP, are all-hands on deck to provide help, including food and relief packages, to the communities), especially for poor families whose breadwinners will be unable to work and earn under ECQ," she said.
Kasado na rin ang Bayanihan E-konsulta para may matawagan ang mga kababayan natin bago sumugod at ma-expose pa sa panganib sa mga ospital (The Bayanihan E-konsulta is also ready to accept calls of the people before they go to the hospitals)," she added.—AOL, GMA News