Senior Citizens’ financial assistance distribution planned on second week of May
Cebu City eyes modified distribution to comply with social distancing measures
CEBU CITY, Philippines — The Cebu City government targets the distribution of the senior citizens’ financial assistance by the second week of May 2020.
The two-month delay of the distribution was due to the implementation of the enhanced community quarantine (ECQ) to prevent the spread of the Coronavirus Disease 2019 (COVID-19).
The senior citizens will be entitled to three months worth of financial aid or P3,000, for the months of March, April, and May. The last aid distribution for the seniors was last February.
Mayor Edgardo Labella revealed in an interview with KPB-Cebu hosted by radio station, DYAB, that the city is hoping to get the approval of the Commission on Audit (COA) for a modified distribution system during the distribution.
The usual distribution of the financial aid involves the beneficiary signing a document proving that he or she received the aid from the city government.
However, the mayor sees this as a potential risk in spreading the virus, especially that the senior citizens are the most vulnerable to the disease.
The city government has consulted with COA if instead of a signature, the city may instead take the beneficiary’s picture as a proof that the financial aid was received.
“Kodakan lang nato nya naay gihapoy social distancing. Di man pwede nga ipareha nato sauna ang distribution kay delikado kaayo ni para sa atong mga katiguwangan,” said the mayor.
(We can take a picture of the senior citizen with respect to social distancing. We cannot distribute the financial aid the same way as before because this is dangerous to our senior citizens.)
The distribution will also be on the sitio (sub-village) level, so the mayor asked the beneficiaries to be patient. The distribution may take at least a week to be completed with limited manpower.
Still, Labella hopes for the approval of the COA so the city can finally distribute the financial aid by the second week of May.
For future distributions, Labella said the city is seriously considering the cash cards although it may take time to be released.
The cards have to processed in Manila at P150 each, and mass application has to be conducted.
Still, the cash cards would be the best solution for any future crisis similar to the COVID-19. The city hopes to begin processing the cash cards once the pandemic begins to dissipate. /bmjo
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