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P13.1-B cash aid for Metro residents will come from gov’t savings — Palace

PHILIPPINE STAR/ EDD GUMBAN

THE PRESIDENTIAL Palace on Tuesday said the P13.1 billion worth of cash assistance that will be given to low-income residents of Metro Manila amid the implementation of stricter quarantine protocols in the region would be sourced from the savings of government agencies.

Presidential Spokesperson Herminio L. Roque, Jr. made the clarification after President Rodrigo R. Duterte approved the distribution of cash aid to around 10.7 million residents of the capital region.

Tapping government savings to fund financial assistance for Filipinos affected by lockdowns is allowed under Administrative Order No. 41, which President Rodrigo R. Duterte signed in May, Mr. Roque said.

The utilization of “unobligated, continuing appropriations, and savings” for financial assistance is provided under the order, he said.

Earlier, the Palace official said the amount of cash aid to be distributed in the capital region before the start of the Aug. 6 to 20 lockdown would be P1,000 per person or a maximum of P4,000 for every family.

It is the same amount given to residents in other areas placed under an enhanced community quarantine, he added.

At the same briefing, Mr. Roque said the government would tap the “windfall” collected by the Bureau of Treasury if more financial aid is needed because of the hard lockdown.

The Philippine economy could lose more than P200 billion during the two-week enhanced community quarantine, the National Economic and Development Authority has said.

The lockdown would also increase the number of poor people by as many as 177,000, it said, adding that 444,000 Filipinos could become jobless. — Kyle Aristophere T. Atienza

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