Instead of politicizing aid, Duterte urged to increase cash aid, make distribution efficient

Graphics by Jannela Paladin / Bulatlat


MANILA – “Now is not the time (for politicking). The people need help from the government.”

This is what a 22-year-old worker from Binondo, Manila told Bulatlat after learning the recent tirades of President Rodrigo Duterte apparently against Manila Mayor Francisco ‘Isko Moreno’ Domagoso, where the president said that he would have line agencies distribute the much-awaited cash assistance as the Philippine capital reverts to a stricter lockdown than course it through the local government.

“These funds will be of big help to us. We hope that it can be given to us in the fastest, most efficient way possible,” said Mary Joy Arrogante, a resident of Tondo, Manila.

On Monday evening, President Duterte said either the Department of the Interior and Local Government (DILG) or the Department of Social Welfare and Development (DSWD) will lead the distribution in a city, which the public later identified as Manila. The distribution of cash aid is scheduled to start today, Aug. 11.

Critics, however, feared that this could delay the distribution of the cash aid, which has already been criticized for being too little.

Former Social Welfare Secretary Judy Taguiwalo said the president’s pronouncement will revise the Joint Memorandum Circular No. 3 issued by the DILG, DSWD, and the Department of National Defense on guidelines for the distribution of financial assistance to the National Capital Region, where cash assistance is through local government units with the DSWD providing technical assistance.

By putting the cash aid distribution on their shoulders, Taguiwalo said DSWD personnel will be further burdened as they are already implementing other social protection programs such as conditional cash transfers, social pension, and assistance to persons in crisis.

“Asking them to take on the direct distribution of cash aid in an LGU will unduly add to their burdens and will hamper the distribution,” she said in a statement.

Taguiwalo, also spokesperson of CURE Covid, instead urged President Duterte to ensure the speedy distribution of the cash aid and allocate additional assistance as the current aid (minimum of $20 to a maximum of $80) “is not enough to meet the needs of the majority of our people under lockdown.”

Meanwhile, Arrogante and her family have been struggling to get by since the pandemic reached the country. With another lockdown in place, they have stored food enough for their family. But the proverbial light at the end of the tunnel seems too far away from them.

“We are ready, but we are not sure if it is enough. It is worrying,” she added. (JJE, RVO)(

Share This Post