Local government units (LGUs) are given more time to distribute the government’s financial assistance for low-income individuals that were severely affected by the most recent implementation of Enhanced Community Quarantine (ECQ), according to Presidential Spokesperson Secretary Harry Roque Jr.
“In-extend ang deadline na makumpleto ang pamamahagi ng financial assistance hanggang akinse ng Mayo 2021,” said Secretary Roque in his press briefing today, April 20.
The Palace official said the extension was made because of several reasons. “Una, tayo ay nasa panahon po ng COVID-19. Bawal ang malakihang pagtitipon-tipon. Kailangan pangalagaan ang kaligtasan at kalusugan ng lahat,” Sec. Roque remarked.
Second, the Palace spokesperson said that the method of distribution is being refined and is being made flexible, whether be it automated or by house-to-house. He added that there were also appeals from LGUs to extend the distribution deadline.
The President’s spokesman in the same briefing also made mention of Administrative Order No. 39, signed by President Rodrigo Roa Duterte yesterday, April 19, 2021, which grants a one-time financial assistance of P20,000 to GSIS and SSS pensioners with total or permanent partial disability, as well as for survivorship pensioners.
Quoting some parts of AO39, Roque said, “The ECC is hereby authorized to grant a one-time financial assistance of P20,000 to EC pensioners for permanent partial disability, permanent total disability, and survivorship, in the private and public sectors, subject to the availability of funds and pertinent laws, rules and regulations.”
Meanwhile, on the issue of tariffs for pork products, Roque said that the President, in his Talk-to-the-People Address last night, expressed willingness and readiness to revoke the Executive Order that he earlier issued on the temporary reduction of import tariffs on pork products once domestic supply improves.
“Sa kanyang pahayag, kinilala ni Presidente ang kagustuhan ng mga mambabatas na protektahan ang local hog raisers ngunit binigyan din niya ng diin na pabor ang kanyang economic managers sa lower tariffs sa mga baboy para ma-stabilize and presyo,” said Roque.
Roque reiterated that the Chief Executive explained last night why he agreed to the recommendation of the Department of Agriculture and his Economic Team on the 400,000 metric tons of minimum access volume (MAV) importation at lower tariff.
“But of course that is subject to revocation if Congress wants dahil sa Saligang Batas talagang exercise of delegated authority lang po ang ginagawa ng Presidente kapag dating sa tariff fixing and can only be exercised when Congress is not in session,” Roque said. He added that as soon as Congress resumes, they can override the decision, as the matter falls under their jurisdiction.
On the matter of vaccines, Philippine Ambassador to the United States Jose Manuel Romualdez mentioned Moderna’s confirmation that the company can start with their vaccine delivery to the Philippines starting June 15 and will start to increase the number of doses to be delivered in the succeeding months until the end of the year. As for Pfizer, Ambassador Romualdez said that it will initially go through the COVAX Facility and it will most likely come at the end of May or in the month of June.
Meanwhile, Philippine Ambassador to Russia Carlos Sorreta disclosed that some 20,000 doses of the Russian vaccine will arrive in the Philippines within the next few days, which will be followed shortly before the end of April with almost half a million doses. ### OPS-PCOO