Gov’t still has money for cash aid, says Dominguez
President Duterte’s chief economic manager has assured the public that the government could still give away cash aid in case the ongoing lockdowns across the country would be extended.
Meanwhile, the Department of Budget (DBM) has released a total of P3.78 billion in additional financial assistance to areas placed placed on the stringent enhanced community quarantine (ECQ) through their respective local governments.
Finance Secretary Carlos Dominguez III on Friday reiterated that lockdowns should remain localized to minimize their adverse impact on the economy.
“To save lives, it may be necessary to implement lockdowns in severely affected communities or barangays,” Dominguez said.
Citing estimates of state planning agency National Economic and Development Authority, Dominguez said the current quarantine restrictions would cost the economy P151 billion in output losses a week.
The Finance chief said funds were available for dole outs, “depending on areas affected and the length of time” of their respective lockdowns.
Last week, Dominguez said dividends remitted in advance by state-run corporations would partly fund the cash aid to be granted to households whose livelihoods were affected by the ECQ reimposition.
The DBM last week released P10.89 billion from government agencies’ savings from their 2020 budgets to the 17 local governments in Metro Manila for cash aid.
The cash aid for almost 11 million Metro Manila residents came from government savings under Administrative Order No. 41 issued by Mr. Duterte in May.
AO 41 mandated agencies to identify items already released under their respective continuing 2020 budgets, which had not been intended for COVID-19 response but were unobligated as of May 15 this year. The validity of the P4.1-trillion 2020 national budget was extended up to end-2021.
Budget Undersecretary Rolando Toledo last week said a total of P13.13 billion in the national government’s savings were generated through AO 41.
On Thursday, the DBM issued Local Budget Circular No. 139, which added P3.78 billion in financial assistance to some local governments in Metro Manila as well as the provinces of Bataan and Laguna, which were all placed under ECQ this month.
Eleven cities in Metro Manila had been allocated another P361.94 million; Bataan’s lone city and 11 municipalities, P698.28 million, and Laguna’s six cities and 24 municipalities got the biggest share of P2.71 billion.
The circular was signed by Tina Rose Marie Canda, officer in charge of DBM, on behalf of resigned Budget Secretary Wendel Avisado.
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