Malacañang assured the public Monday that the second tranche of COVID-19 cash aid will be distributed to poor families even if the law governing it expires this month.
Presidential spokesman Harry Roque says the June 25 expiry of the Bayanihan to Heal as One Act will not affect the second round of cash assistance to poor families under the government's social amelioration program.
“The second tranche of cash aid will push through even if the Bayanihan Act expires,” Roque told reporters.
“It is not affected by the expiry of the law because the obligation and money is there.”
Under the Bayanihan to Heal as One Act, each beneficiary will receive cash aid of P5,000 to P8,000 twice—in April and May—based on the minimum wage rates in the region.
The program was later expanded to cover five million more families, and on Monday the Department of Social Welfare and Development said Monday it is verifying the list for cash aid for the additional families.
"The Department will issue Social Amelioration Card forms with code specifically for the additional beneficiaries," the department said in a statement.
The poor families in Benguet, Metro Manila, Southern Tagalog, Central Luzon except Aurora, Pangasinan, Albay, Zamboanga City, Iloilo, Cebu, Bacolod City, and Davao City are entitled to the second tranche of cash aid, the department said.
Rep. Fidel Nograles, meanwhile, wants to institutionalize the enforcement of a moratorium on all residential utility bills for the duration of a declared state of calamity or emergency, and in anticipation of another public health-related national emergency.
He filed House Bill 6960, or the proposed Utility Bills Moratorium Law, which would automatically impose a moratorium on electric, water, internet, and telephone bills in the areas where the enhanced community quarantine is in force.
“We do not wish for another public health emergency to happen, but we must be realistic in expecting that the next epidemic is right around the corner,” Nograles said.
“Right now, even as we are still grappling with the pandemic, we already have to cover the bases so we won’t be blindsided when the next public health crisis hits.”