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IATF approves measures to ensure delivery of cash aid during MECQ

The Philippines’ COVID-19 task force has adopted measures to ensure the delivery of cash assistance to low-income households while Metro Manila and its nearby provinces are under a stricter lockdown.

The measures were approved on Thursday by the Inter-Agency Task Force for the Management of Emerging Infectious Diseases (IATF) upon the recommendation of the Department of Social Welfare and Development (DSWD)—the lead implementing agency of the Social Amelioration Program (SAP).

According to the IATF, partner financial service providers can operate at full capacity and their employees will be allowed “full mobility in the performance of their functions.”

SAP beneficiaries who are not subject of restrictions will be allowed limited movement to receive the cash aid.

The DSWD reported on Thursday that 72.4% or 10.2 million of the 14.1 million target beneficiaries have already received the second tranche of the cash aid. The department aims to finish the distribution in the middle of August.

President Rodrigo Duterte placed Metro Manila, Laguna, Cavite, Rizal, and Bulacan under MECQ from August 4 to 18 following pleas from the medical community for a “timeout” amid rising COVID-19 cases being admitted to hospitals and recalibration of strategies to curb the spread of the virus.

Finance Secretary Carlos Dominguez III said on Thursday that the government was looking into the possibility of including another round of cash subsidies for vulnerable sectors in MECQ areas under the proposed Bayanihan to Recover as One Act. — Virgil Lopez/RSJ, GMA News