• Melo Acuna

President Duterte fears efforts vs COVID-19 may deplete the country's coffers

President Duterte says Luzon lockdown may last until April 30

MANILA – The government says may not have enough funds to support its social amelioration packages after two months.

President Rodrigo Duterte, in his nationwide television address late Monday night said he is becoming desperate and turns to prayer for deliverance from the pressures brought about by the COVID-19 pandemic.

“To my fellow… to my brothers and sisters, especially those who have more in life, you may be able to extend some financial assistance to those in need of food,” he said in his 59-minute address.

President Duterte said P100 billion (CNY 13,974 billion/US$1,974.6 billion) a month with the P270 billion granted him by both Houses of Congress may not last long as he called on the people to understand to current situation.

He said his appointed officials, former military generals, are knowledgeable in addressing the needs of the country’s poor people.

Responding to a call from a provincial government official in densely-populated Cavite province (population 4.2 million) to include the middle class in the social amelioration programs, President Duterte said he agrees but the financial resources are too small.

In closing, President Duterte said the Inter-Agency Task Force on Emerging Infectious Diseases is inclined to extend the lockdown up to April 30, two weeks from the original target of April 14.

Sources at the government’s economic cluster said while there is still enough money, the government would need more resources to fund its pro-poor programs. A source who declined to be identified said the government has resorted to sourcing foreign loans from the World Bank and Asian Development Bank. (Melo M. Acuña)

President Rodrigo Duterte. (Screen grab from RTVM/PCOO Facebook Page)

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