The Manila City government has realigned P611 million of its budget originally set for infrastructure to fund its financial assistance and food subsidies for over 600,000 residents affected by the Enhanced Community Quarantine due to the coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) pandemic.
Manila Mayor Francisco “Isko” Domagoso said that the local government decided to reallocate P611 million for cash aid, food packs, and rice subsidies of Manileños who continue to be affected by the lockdown imposed over Luzon island due to the disease.
“Humigit-kumulang P611 milyon na nakatakda sana para sa infrastructure projects ay ating ni-realign at ginastos na natin para sa food at non-food assistance para sa bawat Manileño upang ibsan ang epekto ng krisis na dulot ng COVID-19 (We realigned about P611 million that was originally allocated for instrastructure projects and used it instead for food and non-food assistance for every Manileño to help alleviate the effect of the COVID-19 crisis.),” said Domagoso in a Facebook message.
“Dahil tulad po ng aking pangako sa inyo, uunahin po muna ang bituka, bago ang kalsada (As I promised you before, I will prioritize food over roads.),” Domagoso said.
Domagoso and other city officials previously donated their combined April salaries worth P4.7 million to the Philippine General Hospital, one of the referral hospitals for COVID-19 patients in the country.
To take care of the city’s elderly, the local government said it has distributed milk food supplements to more than 120,000 senior citizens in Manila. Domagoso said that a total of 120,886 senior citizens will receive a can containing 400 grams of Ensure Gold milk.
“Ang City of Manila ay bumili ng gatas at ito po ang nakita namin na isang masustansyang gatas o supplement na maaari namin manlang maibigay sa inyo pandagdag sa proteksyon sa inyong kalusugan,” Domagoso said.
Domagoso said that the move of the Manila City government was made after some studies revealed that senior citizens were more vulnerable to become infected by COVID-19.
The Ensure Gold milk was procured by the city government at the price of P237.35. The market price for the said milk brand was at more or less P400.
According to Domagoso, the local government purchased 150,000 milk cans in order to guarantee that all senior citizens living in Manila will receive one can of milk.
The milk cans will be handed over to barangay officials and they will be the ones tasked to distribute the products to the senior citizens.
“Mga chairman, mga kagawad, mga barangay officials, at sa mga senior citizen, lahat po ay dapat tumanggap ng gatas na ito. Ito po ay Ensure Gold kaloob sa inyo ng Syudad ng Maynila,” Domagoso said.
“Kung meron man na hindi mabibigyan na senior citzen na nasa loob ng Maynila, nakatira sa Maynila, nakarehistro sa Maynila, dapat magkaroon ng isang lata ng gatas,” the Mayor added.
The milk assistance was the second wave of assistance provided by the Manila City government for its senior citizens.
Earlier, the local government began the accelerated distribution of P1,500 cash pension for every duly-registered senior citizen in the nation’s capital.
More than 64,000 senior citizens have already benefited from the Social Amelioration program of the local government.
Still in Manila, the city government said it has impounded 80 tricycles in Quiapo, Manila for operating despite the implementation of the ECQ, banning public transportation.
The tricycles were impounded at the Plaza Miranda near Quiapo Church.
Major Aldrin Balagat of the Plaza Miranda Police Community Precinct said they impounded the tricycles due to the suspension of the public transportation under the ECQ.
To provide transportation for frontliner healthcare workers, the city government of Manila earlier hired 189 electric tricycles to ferry them to the hospitals where they work.