Metro Manila LGUs struggle with insufficient 'ayuda'

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Local government units in Metro Manila on Wednesday started to distribute the promised cash aid to residents affected by the enhanced community quarantine, but some revealed they have to make do with the smaller budget that they received from the national government. FILE PHOTO

Metro Manila (CNN Philippines, August 11) — Local government units in Metro Manila on Wednesday started to distribute the promised cash aid to residents affected by the enhanced community quarantine, but some revealed they have to make do with the smaller budget that they received from the national government.

Speaking to CNN Philippines' The Source, Navotas Mayor Toby Tiangco said his city received a ₱197 million budget for the two-week lockdown, ₱2 million short of over ₱199 million it received for cash aid distribution last April.

"Nabawasan nga po tayo ng kaunti. But may promise naman ang (Department of Budget and Management) na ibabalik kung ano iyong kulang. Yun po ang sabi nila," he said Wednesday

[Translation: We received a lower amount. But the Budget Department promised that they will return what was lacking. That's what they said.]

He added that even during the last distribution, the city government had to allocate additional ₱26 million from its own coffers to cater to all households in need of aid.

In an interview with DZMM Teleradyo, Mayor Joy Belmonte said Quezon City received a ₱2.37 billion budget for its own aid rollout, around ₱109 million less than the previous budget of ₱2.48 billion — potentially leaving 25,000 households with no cash grants. Belmonte said they already appealed to the Interior Department to give the remaining amount, as some LGUs were able to receive a higher budget this time, compared to the previous lockdown.

Over the weekend, Pasig Mayor Vico Sotto said the local government had to order 260,000 grocery food packs for eligible households that will not receive the financial aid, since the city only received a ₱650 million budget for the "ECQ ayuda." He said in an interview that this is ₱30 million less than the amount they received last year.

Metro Manila is currently under a two-week ECQ until August 20 to control the spread of the coronavirus Delta variant.

More than 10 million residents in the capital region are expected to receive ₱1,000 during the said period, with a maximum of ₱4,000 per family.