Presidential Spokesperson Harry Roque (Screengrab from RTVM)
MANILA – The distribution of cash assistance to low-income households in Metro Manila will still be on August 11, Malacanang said Tuesday.
The clarification was made, a day after President Rodrigo Duterte stripped an unnamed local government unit (LGU) in Metro Manila of its role to distribute the financial assistance to poor families affected by the two-week enhanced community quarantine (ECQ) in the region.
Presidential Spokesperson Harry Roque, however, echoed Duterte’s statement that the Department of Social Welfare and Development (DSWD) and the Department of the Interior and Local Government (DILG) will take over the distribution of financial aid in one area in Metro Manila due to the LGU’s alleged lack of organization.
“Tuloy po ‘yan bagama’t ang utos po ng Presidente, DSWD at DILG na tutulungan po ng kapulisan at ng AFP ([The distribution of cash aid] will push through. However, the President’s order for DSWD and DILG is to take over, with the help of the police and the military),” Roque said in an online press briefing.
In his pre-recorded Talk to the People aired Monday night, Duterte slammed an unnamed “mayor” in Metro Manila for having a “disorganized mind.”
Duterte tasked the DSWD and DILG to take over the cash aid distribution to “prevent overcrowding and disorder.”
Metro Manila has been placed under ECQ from August 6 to 20 to stop the further transmission of the coronavirus disease 2019 (Covid-19), including the more infectious Delta coronavirus variant.
Each qualified resident in NCR may receive cash assistance worth PHP1,000 or a maximum of PHP4,000 per household.
Identity of LGU undisclosed
Roque, during the press conference, said he is not privy to the identity of the Metro Manila mayor whose power to distribute the financial aid was taken away.
“Again, I do not know if the President was alluding to Manila,” he said.
Roque, nevertheless, hinted that Duterte’s decision against the local chief executive in Metro Manila was based on the photos which showed the chaotic vaccination rollout in the city.
He said Duterte merely wants to avoid the possible spike in Covid-19 cases in one of the cities in Metro Manila being led by the mayor with a “disorganized mind.”
“So pictures don’t lie. At naisip naman ni Presidente na kung ganito rin ang mangyayari pagdating sa distribution ng ayuda eh baka lalong dumami pa ang ating Covid cases sa lugar na iyon (And the President thinks that if the same thing happens in the distribution of aid, Covid-19 cases in that area might go up),” Roque said.
No sanctions vs. LGU
Quizzed if an investigation will be conducted against the Metro Manila mayor called out by Duterte, Roque said the Palace would let the DILG decide on the fate of the unnamed local official.
Roque, however, clarified that the Palace is “not imposing any sanctions on anyone.”
“Sinisiguro lang natin na hindi mangyayari iyong kaguluhan na nakita ni Presidente sa larawan (We are just making sure that there will be no repeat of the incident shown in the photo),” he said. “Wala po tayong pinaparusahan, wala po tayong nililitis (We are not punishing anyone).”
Roque also ensured that the Metro Manila mayor will be given “full due process,” in case the DILG decides to file an administrative case against him. (PNA)