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Palace: No additional aid despite ECQ extension in NCR Plus

There will be no additional aid for low-income households even if the enhanced community quarantine (ECQ) reimposed over the NCR Plus bubble was extended for another week, Malacañang said Monday.

In a television interview, presidential spokesperson Harry Roque said the P1,000 worth of aid -- which will be given either in cash or kind -- is final amount since workers did not go to work for at least three days last week in observance of the Holy Week.

“Traditional naman po na ang pasok lang naman talaga ay Monday to Tuesday [kapag Mahal na Araw], kaya dalawang araw lang po talaga ang nawala na kita sa ating mamamayan,” Roque said in an ANC interview.

(It has been a tradition that people only go to work on Monday and Tuesday during Holy Week, so the lost income is only for two days.)

The assistance -- P1,000 per individual or maximum of P4,000 per household -- will be released to local government units this week.

“The P4,000 per family… that will never be enough, but the nature of ayuda is to help [the family] pass this period na hindi makakapagtrabaho. ‘Yun na po ‘yun,” Roque said.

(The nature of the aid is to tide the family over until they can go back to work again. That amount would be it.)

The national government has earmarked P23 billion for granting aid to low-income households in Metro Manila and the adjacent provinces of Bulacan, Cavite, Rizal and Laguna, which is under ECQ from March 29 to April 11.

The ECQ protocol in these areas — a policy which prevents non-essential trips and non-essential businesses and services from operating — was supposed to end last April 4 but it was extended for another week due to the surge in COVID-19 cases.

The Philippines has 135,526 COVID-19 cases as of posting time. Of this number, 11,028 new cases were recorded on April 4 alone.

Based on Department of Health records, 58,331 new COVID-19 cases were recorded in Metro Manila alone in the last two weeks.

The National Economic and Development Authority (NEDA) earlier said a two-week modified enhanced community quarantine — one notch lower than the ECQ — would bring about P2.1 billion daily losses, raise the number of hungry Filipinos by 58,000; and increase unemployed Filipinos by 128,500.  —KBK, GMA News