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  • Writer's pictureMelo Acuna

P200b assistance vowed for unemployed due to Enhance Community Quarantine measures

President Duterte launches P200 billion in social protection program amid COVID-19 threats

MANILA – Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte launched what he described as the “largest and widest” social protection program” to make up for the loss of economic opportunities as quarantine measures prevail due to COVID-19.

Speaking on nationwide television late night Monday, the chief executive said the P200-billion allotment would be for low-income households, those in the informal sector whom he described as people who “live day-to-day on subsistence wages or ‘now-work, no-pay’ arrangements.”

He vowed emergency support for the poor for two months based on existing regional minimum wages.

President Duterte likewise called on the everyone’s support, especially the privileged ones.

“I (also) appeal to the private sector to contribute, in any way you can, in dealing with this national emergency,” he said underscoring the need for employers to protect the welfare of millions of Filipino households part of who come from the formal sector who solely rely on salaries for livelihood.

He thanked those who have extended help sans media coverage and limelight.

President Duterte vowed to have a recovery package t micro, small and medium enterprises to help deal with the economic effects of the pandemic.

“My economic team is already creating the guidelines for this as I speak,” he emphasized. The same quick response measures will also be extended to farmers and fishermen for them to ensure food productivity, availability and sufficiency.

Unhampered flow of cargo and workers have been assured by the national government to maintain continuous and steady food supply, goods and other essential supplies and items. Food packs and essential non-food items have also been distributed to local government units in Metro Manila and the rest of Luzon.

“I will do everything so no goes hungry,” he said during the 25-minute televised address.

The government has also provided the needed resources to protect frontline health workers through the procurement of about a million Personal Protective Equipment (PPEs) and medical supplies in partnership with the private sector.

“We are also ramping up our capacity to test more broadly to take a fuller and more accurate picture of the spread of COVID-19 in the country. We will also build, operate and accredit more medical facilities and laboratories in the coming weeks,” he added.

He expressed his appreciation the Chinese and Singaporean governments, Filipino and Filipino-Chinese businessmen, Chinese business tycoon Jack Ma, among others for the donations extended to the government.

President Duterte expressed his appreciation to doctors and other medical frontliners who lost their lives serving the sick. He added it was a noble way to die.

He warned everyone on government not to take advantage of the situation and enrich themselves as he will never tolerate any graft and corrupt practice during this time of crisis.

He vowed to jail government executives found to be involved in criminal acts.

As of 2017, CIA Factbook estimates poverty in the Philippines at 21.6%. The country’s labor force is estimated in 2017 and comes from Services (56.3%), Agriculture (18.3%) and Industry (18.3%) (Melo M. Acuna)

President Rodrigo Duterte in his late Monday night address. (King Prodriguez/Presidential Photo)

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