NCR residents to receive cash aid during ECQ in August – MMDA chair

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Metro Manila (CNN Philippines, July 30) — The national government will distribute cash aid to poor families in Metro Manila once the National Capital Region is back in lockdown from August 6 to 20, Metropolitan Manila Development Authority Chairman Benhur Abalos confirmed on Friday.

The 17 local chief executives in the National Capital Region agreed to place Metro Manila under hard lockdown if the national government can provide cash aid to poor families and allocate more COVID-19 vaccines. Abalos, who coordinates between the COVID-19 task force and Metro Manila mayors, said the government has approved their request.

"It goes without saying na pinyagan na rin po ito ng ating pamahalaan. Nagkaroon po sila ng paraan kaya pinayagan ang ECQ," he told CNN Philippines.

[Translation: This was approved by the government. They found a way so they allowed ECQ.]

The government will release details on the amount, qualifications, and mode of distribution.

President Rodrigo Duterte on Friday ordered concerned agencies to "source for funds" for those affected by the lockdown, according to his spokesperson Harry Roque.

Socioeconomic Planning Secretary Karl Chua said the Philippine economy stands to bleed ₱105 billion, with almost half a million Filipinos losing their jobs for each week the region is under the strictest lockdown.

Duterte on Friday approved the recommendation of the government's pandemic response task force to place Metro Manila under general community quarantine with "heightened and additional restrictions" until Aug. 5, and for a shift to ECQ the following week to stop the spread of the more contagious Delta variant of the coronavirus.

Abalos said vaccinations will continue during the ECQ period.

DTI chief assures sufficient supply of goods during ECQ in Metro Manila

Trade Secretary Ramon Lopez said there is enough supply of goods in the market amid the looming ECQ in Metro Manila.

"We assure the public of adequate supply of goods in supermarkets and groceries because agriculture and manufacturing activities shall continue," he said in a statement Friday.

Lopez reiterated that while the economy, especially the micro, small and medium enterprises, can no longer afford another lockdown, this move is "inevitable" amid the threat of the Delta variant.

"What is important is that even in the ECQ, we should allow the dominant portion of the production sector - agri industry services - to continue to operate so we save Jobs and income," Lopez said.