Villanueva: Hand out ayuda for all areas under ECQ
The government should study the grant of ayuda to residents of cities outside Metro Manila that are under hard lockdown to stop cases of the highly transmissible Delta COVID-19 variant from exploding, according to Senator Joel Villanueva.
“Nagugutom rin po ang mga kababayan natin doon. Mawawalan po ng hanapbuhay ang karamihan sa kanila. Hunger is not something confined to the National Capital Region alone. It is a national phenomenon,” said Villanueva, chair of the Senate labor committee.
“If aid is limited to Metro Manila, then are we saying na hindi kumakalam ang sikmura ng mga taga-Cagayan de Oro at Iloilo? The budget department should look into this. No one should be left behind,” Villanueva added. “People subjected to the same quarantine restrictions should be entitled to the same quarantine assistance.”
The fact that other cities have populations smaller than Metro Manila would make it easier for the national government to channel household aid there, explained Villanueva.
“Nagugutom rin po ang mga kababayan natin doon. Mawawalan po ng hanapbuhay ang karamihan sa kanila. Hunger is not something confined to the National Capital Region alone. It is a national phenomenon.”
“Population-wise, Metro Manila is 20 times the size of Cagayan de Oro, 100 times bigger than Gingoog City. NCR has 37 times more people than Mandaue,” the senator pointed out. “Iloilo City is just one-sixth the population of Quezon City.”
The cities of Cagayan de Oro, Iloilo and Gingoog are currently under ECQ, ahead of Metro Manila’s, which is set to begin on Aug. 6.
He said Cagayan de Oro and Iloilo are regional centers that are national revenue contributors “just like NCR cities are.”
He is appealing to Malacañang to consider his proposal even as he admitted that “money to expand ayuda outside of Manila is not a matter of simply printing money.”
“But I share the optimism of budget watchers that the government will be able to source funds for cash assistance, which is for the short term and lower in amount than the previous ones,” Villanueva said.