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COVID-19 WATCH

Rody allocates P200 billion for poor, jobless

Francis Wakefield

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PRESIDENT Rodrigo Duterte during his televised speech last night. Screen grab of PTV-4 footage.

President Rodrigo Duterte on Monday night assured that the heroism showed by the medical frontliners — which include doctors, nurses, health professionals, police, soldiers, civil servants and everyone who are performing essential services in the private sector to fight the coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) — will not be forgotten.

In a recorded televised speech aired over government station PTV-4 that lasted more than 24 minutes, the President also thanked the LGUs (local government units) for doing their best to contain the spread of the virus.in their localities and for employing innovative programs and initiatives to address the needs of their constituents.

“Your heroism will not be forgotten. Saludo kami sa inyo,” President Duterte said.

“Rest assured that the national government is behind you as we safeguard the welfare of our people in your communities,” he added

The President said he also issued an order through Executive Secretary Salvador Medialdea clearly laying down the responsibilities of each department in implementing the “Bayanihan to Heal as One Act”.

“I have given them their marching orders, emphasizing the need for sufficient authority, so that they do not have to go back to me and ask for clearance for every action they have to take,” the President said.

“All of the details of our actions will be part of my report, which will be submitted to Congress pursuant to the  Bayanihan Act,” he added.

The Chief Executive said there are only two powers in the law that he has reserved strictly for himself. One is the power to direct the operation of private establishments and the other is the power to require businesses to prioritize contracts for materials and services necessary for the crisis.

“I will exercise these powers only when absolutely necessary,” he said.

The President also assured that the government is now taking actions and undertaking key measures to overcome and recover from the effects of this pandemic.

He said these measures have three main priorities: First is providing emergency assistance to affected sectors; the second is securing facilities [and] resources for the health sector and three is perrforming fiscal and monetary actions for the economy.

He said that the government has allocated P200 billion for low-income households who are badly affected by the current crisis, those belonging to the informal sector communities and those who live day-to-day in subsistence wages or “no-work, no-pay arrangements.

“First, the government is now launching the largest and widest social protection program in our country’s history. Pinakamalaki itong tulong na ibibigay ng gobyerno sa mamamayan sa history natin, eh ngayon lang tayo nagkaroon ng problemang ganito — to make up for the loss of economic opportunities due to the quarantine measures in place for COVID-19. Beneficiary-households will receive emergency support for two months based on the regional minimum wage,” the President said.

“However, I still count on everyone to also look out after their fellowmen — their countrymen. To those who have more in life, I implore you to share in the cost of taking care of the less fortunate and keeping our society intact. They have also contributed to our prosperity in one way or [another]. So, let us support them in this crisis. Let it be said that, in the hour of our country’s greatest need, we all looked out for and helped each other,” he added.

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