‘Ayuda muna bago ang lahat’: Robredo calls for faster aid distribution amid 2-week ECQ
Vice President Leni Robredo called for a faster and more efficient distribution of cash grant or “ayuda” for residents of the National Capital Region who will be heavily affected by the reimposition of a two-week lockdown starting August 6 to quell the spread of COVID-19 virus.
“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 said.
“Pang-ilang ECQ na natin ito, so we expect na sana by now, naplantsa na natin ‘yung proseso at sistema ng delivery ng assistance Ayuda muna bago ang lahat,” the Vice President added.
The government has allotted P13.1 billion to provide a one-time cash grant to about 10.7 million Metro Manila residents when the National Capital Region reverts to an enhanced community quarantine (ECQ) from August 6 to 20. They are proposed to get P1,000 per individual or a maximum of P4,000 per family.
But Robredo said the government could have allotted more for the ayuda to help families cope during the crisis, adding that the current amount may not be even enough to pay for their monthly rent. The Vice President also noted that billions of funds allotted for anti-insurgency efforts could have been better spent to help Filipinos in need.
“Nabalitaan natin recently ‘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,” Robredo said.
Robredo echoed the earlier statements made by his party mate in the Liberal Party and Senate Minority Leader Franklin M. Drilon who criticized the government’s prioritizing of anti-insurgency over ayuda. She stressed the need for the government to increase the budget for the ayuda to cover the needs of affected residents for food, electricity and water bills, among others.
“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,” Robredo said.
The Vice President also went on video to say lockdowns are just stop gap measures, as she urged the government to make use of the two-week lockdown to expand testing, tracing, hospital readiness, social amelioration, and vaccination efforts.
“While we are on lockdown, government must focus on programs that will help contain the virus and prevent another widescale ECQ. Daily testing should be increased from 50,000 to 120,000 to effectively detect infections, contact tracing should be strengthened by using only one contact tracing app and creating a central database so that outbreaks can be pinpointed, and lockdowns are more granular,” she said.
"From our end, naka-all hands on deck ang OVP para makapagparating ng tulong sa mga communities, tulad ng mga food and relief packages, especially for poor families whose breadwinners will be unable to work and earn under ECQ. 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," she added.