Govt cash aid, assistance programs included in Duterte’s seventh COVID-19 report

By CNN Philippines Staff

President Rodrigo Duterte is expected to submit his latest report on the government’s COVID-19 efforts to Congress this week.

As with previous reports, the President gave the latest updates on cash aid for the poor, one of the key provisions of the Bayanihan to Heal as One Act, which gave him special budget powers to counter the pandemic.

The latest report states not all of the 18 million target beneficiaries have received aid, despite the extension of the deadline for the first tranche of the distribution of cash assistance from April 30 to May 10.

A start date for the second tranche for cash aid distribution has not yet been announced.

An update from the DSWD said 16.1 million beneficiaries have received aid as of 12 p.m. of May 11. Data included in the government report only cited information up to May 8 (14.25 million).

It did, however, state that included in the cash aid program were drivers of public utility vehicles, farmers and fisherfolk, as well as MSMEs and overseas workers.

Non-cash aid was also cited, saying over 200,000 households were given seeds and starting kits as part of the Department of Agriculture’s Urban Agriculture program.

The DA, however, noted that while there may be adequate supply of rice, corn, and chicken until the end of the year, there could be a pork shortage around the fourth quarter due to a lower projected supply of the product.

The report also stated that around 500 PhilHealth accredited hospitals will receive P12.32 billion to fight COVID-19, with the National Capital Region having the most number of facilities receiving aid.

Apart from cash grants, the government reports said other responses and recovery programs are being studied to address “current and emerging realities” brought by the COVID-19 crisis.

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