MANILA, Philippines – Quezon City Mayor Joy Belmonte on Thursday appealed to the national government to consider the size of her city’s population in setting a deadline for local government units (LGU) to distribute assistance to residents affected by the enhanced community quarantine (ECQ).
During the Laging Handa press briefing, Belmonte lamented the 15-day deadline set for the assistance distribution, raising her concerns on maintaining social distancing and health protocols when LGUs are being rushed to complete the process.
She said they have started giving out cash aid to beneficiaries but the size and scope of her city’s population prove to be a challenge in finishing the payout on time.
“Lahat ay ginagawa ko para maka-comply dahil ayokong baka makasuhan na naman kami o malagay sa ganoong sitwasyon… Pero ang nagiging problema natin dito ay paano ma-maintain ng maayos na social distancing at minimum health standards kung minamadali naman tayong tapusin ang pagbibigay ng ayuda sa loob ng 15 days,” she said.
“Hindi iniisip ang size, ang scope at ang laki ng lungsod ay iba doon sa ibang lungsod kaya sana i-consider ito ng national government. Yan po ang aking apela,” she added.
Belmonte said they have already distributed cash assistance to over 41,000 families on Wednesday and are targeting to help 74,000 more today.
Distribution in some areas is admittedly difficult due to the volume of people who trooped to the venues, she added.
“May ilang barangay na talagang nahirapan kaming i-control ang crowd dahil ang mga tao iniisip nila first come, first served,” the mayor said.
To avoid the crowding of beneficiaries, Belmonte said they will issue stubs to limit the number of claimants to 2,000 per day.
“Itong 2,000 na ito, iba-ibang oras at lugar pa ang nakasulat, kunwari by purok, last name or by street para hindi magkumpulan o sabay-sabay (na pumipila),” she said.
In distributing government assistance, Belmonte said LGUs are guided by the list from the Department of Social Welfare and Development.
The government’s assistance program provides P1,000 per individual with a maximum of P4,000 per family. LGUs will decide on whether to distribute the aid in cash or in kind.
Belmonte said they are basing the amount of cash assistance to be given to a resident on the number of listed dependents per family.
Those who are not on the DSWD list can raise their concern through the barangay’s grievance committee, she added.
“Kung wala sila sa listahan ay mayroon naman tayong grievance committee or appeal committee kung saan pwede nila ilista ang kani-kanilang mga pangalan at pwede natin silang bigyan ng tulong,” she said.
The Quezon City government received a total of P2.58 billion fund from the government. Belmonte said this will benefit 2.48 million people or around 800,000 families at the minimum.
In total, the national government allocated P22.9 billion for the assistance program for people affected by the enforcement of ECQ over the NCR Plus areas.