Gov’t distributes aid despite limited resources sans 'publicity'
By Filane Mikee Cervantes / Philippine News Agency
MANILA – The national government is doing its best to help Filipinos affected by the Covid-19 pandemic despite its limited resources, President Rodrigo Duterte said on Monday night.
In a pre-recorded public address, Duterte discouraged Filipinos from “swarming” in areas just to receive free food supplies, warning them that it increases the risk of Covid-19 infection.
He said the government has already been distributing aid to low-income families with "no publicity."
“May binibigay ko sa (I am distributing aid to) poorest of the poor. Sabi ko 'yang walang trabaho, walang makain. Nagdi-distribute kami…Wala 'yan silent lang. Sabi ko, ‘no publicity.’ Pero napipilitan akong i-publicize 'yan dahil (I said those without jobs, without anything to eat, we are distributing aid…We were silent about it. I said ‘no publicity.’ But I am forced to publicize it because) I want to stress the point that there could have been a better way of doing things. There has to be some sense in, you know, what we are doing,” he said.
Duterte encouraged poor Filipinos waiting for assistance given by national and local government to coordinate with local officials — mayors and barangay captains — over delays.
“Ngayon, kayong mga walang talagang makain, walang ano, maghintay lang kayo or (Now, those of you who have nothing to eat, who don’t own anything, just wait) try to communicate with your barangay captain,” he said.
Instead of going out to pick up free food supplies, he said it is better to coordinate with barangay officials so that they could deliver them from a distance.
“Hindi man kailangan lumapit. Ilagay mo lang doon sa table or doon sa fence or what, sa hagdanan. Iyon ang sinasabi ng gobyerno na hindi kasi ninyo alam (You don’t need to go near. Just place it on a table or on the fence or what, stairs. That’s what the government is saying that you don’t know),” he said.
He scolded Filipinos for being “hard-headed” by leaving their homes to get food supplies, warning that Covid-19 is no joke as it could lead to death.
“Ayaw ninyong maniwala, nagsabi na nga na mabuti pa mag-istambay ka na lang ng bahay. Alam mo hindi ito biro. 'Pag tinamaan ka ng Covid, it's kamatayan (You don’t want to believe me, I already said it’s better to stay home. You know, this is not a joke. If you contract Covid, it’s death),” he said.
He appealed to the public to stay home, noting that Covid-19 is “very lethal” and could affect an entire family if one member contracts the disease.
“Mahirap kasi 'yang hindi tayo magkaintindihan na may mga isyu tapos batikos sabihin itong gobyerno na ito pinipigil nila binibigay na nga. Binibigay na nga, binibigay rin sa inyo 'yong sakit, dalhin mo doon sa bahay mo.Eh kung matamaan kayo 'di wholesale (It’s difficult if we don’t understand each other in issues and then you criticize the government from stopping others from giving. So you’re giving, they’re giving you a disease which you bring home. If you get infected, it’s wholesale),” he said.
Meanwhile, Duterte cited how billions of pesos were allocated to fund the government’s social amelioration program (SAP) which grants a PHP5,000 to PHP8,000 monthly cash aid to low-income Filipino families affected by the pandemic.
The cash aid program was said to be the “largest financial aid package ever granted to Filipino households.”
He admitted that the government did not have much money, but noted that officials would still be there to provide to those in need of assistance.
“Kung marami lang tayong pera, puwede ako magtapon ng pera. Pero wala akong pera at hindi naman ninyo masisi ang gobyerno. Tutal nauna kami, nauna kami ng bigay, PHP5,000 per individual. You know, just to ipakita sa inyo na ang gobyerno may kakaunti lang nga pero ang gobyerno may ginagawa (If we had a lot of money, I’d throw money away. But I don’t have that much money and you can’t blame the government. We already started giving PHP5,000 per individual. You know, just to show that the government is doing something),” he added. (PNA)