MANILA -- The Philippines will resolve varying numbers on beneficiaries for cash aid, the head of the country's COVID-19 pandemic response said Thursday, nearly a month into the lockdown of millions in Luzon.
Conflicting records of local governments and the social welfare department will be reconciled and validated, said COVID-19 Response Chief Implementor Carlito Galvez Jr.
The lockdown on Luzon, home to half the country's 100 million people was extended for 18 days until April 30. Millions of vulnerable families stand to get P5,000 to P8,000.
"Nagsabi na po si Presidente na pag-aralan nang mabuti... Ang nakikita ko po, mari-resolve po natin ito," he told DZMM.
(The President already said that this would be studied thoroughly. I see that we could resolve this.)
Asked if problems with the assistance could spark unrest, Galvez said, "Hindi naman siguro kasi nagkikita nating maraming tumutulong din, nakikita natin ang private sector."
(Probably not because many people are helping, we are seeing the private sector.)
Various private groups raised a collective P1.7 billion to help relief efforts, he said.
The government allocated P200 billion for the 2-month cash subsidies for 18 million families under the Bayanihan to Heal as One Act that gave President Rodrigo Duterte additional powers to address the pandemic.
The government is also strengthening the COVID-19 testing capacity of Metro Manila, Calabarzon, Central Luzon, Davao and Zamboanga regions, Galvez said.
"Ang hinihingi ko lang po sa ating mga kababayan ay talaga pong kaunting pasensya kasi po ang ating gobyerno, alam po natin ang ginagawa natin," he said.
(All I'm asking from our compatriots is a bit of patience because our government knows what it is doing.)
The Philippines as of Tuesday confirmed 3,764 cases of COVID-19, with 177 deaths and 84 recoveries.