The Department of Finance (DOF) said the national government has sufficient funds to provide cash assistance, especially for poor families, during the two-week enhanced community quarantine (ECQ).

Finance Secretary Carlos G. Dominguez III said on Wednesday, August 4, that the needed P12 billion for the ECQ cash aid has been fully covered by “excess revenue” coming from government-owned and -controlled corporations.

“We were informed that the amount required is about P12 billion and we have indicated that we have sufficient excess revenue to cover this,” Dominguez told reporters.

Government estimated that some 14.1 million residents in Metro Manila will be affected by the lockdown from August 6 to 20. Of that number, around 10.7 million will receive cash aid.

Affected residents will get P1,000 each or up to a maximum of P4,000 per family for the two-week restrictive quarantine.

Dominguez added that there is also no more need to re-align the current spending program of the government to fund the cash assistance “at this point.”

This the third time the national capital region (NCR) will be placed under ECQ.

MalacaƱang was hopeful for the early release the funds to the local government units (LGUs), so they can start distributing the money to the beneficiaries of the cash aid program.

The agencies and LGUs were given a one-week allowance to prepare for the lockdown.

Presidential spokesman Harry Roque said Tuesday, July 3, that if more financial assistance is needed because of the ECQ, the government will tap the “windfall” collected by the Bureau of the Treasury.

The President earlier mandated the Department of Budget and Management to “find the money” to provide cash aid for the residents who will be affected by the lockdown starting on Friday.

The surge in cases of the more transmissible Delta variant across the country, particularly in NCR and Region 7, pushed the government to declare another lockdown to prevent the health care system from getting overwhelmed.

Earlier, Socioeconomic Planning Secretary Karl Kendrick T. Chua said Metro Manila’s shift back to ECQ would result in roughly P210 billion in losses to the local economy.

Chua said the strictest quarantine status would also raise poverty and intend employers to layoff employees.

“Each week of ECQ in NCR [national capital region] will cost economy P105 billion, also increase poor people by up to 177,000 and 444,000 more without jobs,” Chua said.

Source: Manila Bulletin (