MANILA, Philippines — The government has distributed over P900 million worth of emergency subsidies to nearly 171,000 families as it wrestles with the coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19), which has disrupted business activities and sidelined thousands of workers in Luzon.
Cabinet Secretary Karlo Nograles, spokesman for the government’s task force on the coronavirus, said the emergency subsidies have been given to 170,989 low-income families who are not beneficiaries of the state cash transfer program.
About 3.72 million households have received assistance from the Pantawid cash transfer program, he added.
The Department of Social Welfare and Development (DSWD) has also provided emergency subsidies to 40,418 drivers of transport network vehicle service and other transport workers.
“In addition to this, the DSWD has distributed a total of P61.9 million to 13,135 clients for COVID-19 concerns under the assistance to individuals in crisis situation program,” Nograles said at a press briefing.
Nograles said a total of P57.49 billion worth of funds from the Social Amelioration Program (SAP), a multibillion-peso aid package that provides cash assistance to 18 million households, has been given to 934 local government units (LGUs).
The amount represents 72 percent of the P80.9-billion allocation for low-income families, he said.
“The DSWD aims to complete the distribution of all the funds to all LGUS by this week subject to the cooperation of the remaining LGUs,” he added. Duterte has also approved a subsidy program that seeks to provide P5,000 to P8,000 cash assistance to about 3.4 million middle income employees of small businesses for two months.
The DSWD assured the public that it is fast-tracking the release of the P5,000 to P8,000 SAP cash subsidy to low-income families affected by the lockdown.
It said it had already forged some 1,316 memorandums of agreement with cities and municipalities and has initially provided LGUs with funds amounting to more than P57 billion as of April 14.
Of the amount, P12.4 billion has been allotted for the 17 LGUs in the National Capital Region. – With Rainier Allan Ronda, Emmanuel Tupas
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