Palace: Cash aid for another NCR hard lockdown uncertain

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Metro Manila (CNN Philippines, July 29) — While Metro Manila mayors agreed on a return to enhanced community quarantine (ECQ), Malacañang expressed uncertainty over funds for the financial aid that comes with the strictest form of lockdown.

"Ang sabi nila, okay mag-(enhanced community quarantine) sa kanila basta may ayuda. Ang isyu po, meron ba ho talaga tayong mabibigay na ayuda?" Presidential spokesperson Harry Roque said in his virtual briefing Thursday.

[Translation: They said it's okay for them to return to enhanced community quarantine as long as there's cash assistance. The issue is, can we actually give out financial aid?]

The National Capital Region is currently under general community quarantine (GCQ) with "heightened restrictions" until August 15. However, experts have been flagging the rise in coronavirus cases in Metro Manila - a threat local chief executives want to quash through a two-week ECQ period. 

"Ang katotohanan po, hindi ko po alam kung meron tayong pang-ayuda para sa another malawakang lockdown. Siguro po kung talagang kinakailangan, hahanap at hahanap tayo," Roque said.

[Translation: The truth is, I don't know if we can still fund the cash assistance for another wide lockdown. Perhaps if there's really a need to, we'll find ways to fund it.]

"Pero kung sang-ayon naman po sa ating criteria na wala pa po tayo sa moderate risk...siguro paghandaan na lang talaga natin 'yung pagkakataon na talagang kinakailangan na mapabagal 'yung pagkalat ng sakit," he added.

[Translation: But if we're not yet on moderate risk according to our criteria, maybe we should just prepare for the possibility that we will need to slow down the spread of the disease.]