Residents in 4 areas under ECQ to receive cash aid

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Metro Manila (CNN Philippines, July 29) — Residents in the four areas under enhanced community quarantine will receive cash aid from the government, Malacañang announced on Thursday.

These are Iloilo province, Iloilo City, Cagayan de Oro and Gingoog City, where the strictest lockdown status has been imposed until August 7 to curb coronavirus spread.

"Nandyan na po ang assistance na sinabi ng Pangulo na kinakailangan ibigay kapag tayo po ay nag ECQ," Presidential Spokesperson Harry Roque said in a briefing. "Ito po ay ₱1,000 kada tao or maximum na ₱4,000 kada pamilya."

[Translation: The aid that the President promised to give if we implement ECQ is now here. It amounts to ₱1,000 per person or a maximum of ₱4,000 per family.]

Roque said the funds are now being downloaded to the recipient local government units.

The Department of Social Welfare and Development will distribute the cash aid through its Assistance to Individuals in Crisis Situation program.

As COVID-19 infections rise in Metro Manila, some experts monitoring the pandemic have also pushed for the imposition of ECQ in the country's capital region-- a proposal backed by the mayors.

READ: NCR mayors to seek two-week ECQ in meeting with IATF

Despite these calls, the national government retained the more lenient general community quarantine status in the region until August 15. This is still subject to appeal, with the mayors and the national COVID-19 inter-agency task force set to meet on Thursday over the matter.

However, Roque said financial aid for Metro Manila residents remain uncertain should another stringent lockdown be enforced.

"Ngayong hapon, pakikinggan po ng ating IATF ang ating mga alkalde, pero kung ang kanilang rekomendasyon po para sa ECQ ay kasama ang pagbibigay ng ayuda, hindi ko po alam kung meron po tayong ayudang maibibigay," he said.

[Translation: This afternoon, the IATF will listen to our mayors, but if their proposal for ECQ requires the distribution of cash aid, I'm not sure if we have the funds to do that.]

In an earlier briefing, he said President Rodrigo Duterte has made it clear he will not allow ECQ unless subsidy is given to those who will go jobless because of it.