Filipinos who have been left unemployed by the COVID-19 pandemic will still receive dole-outs despite the scheduled end of the Bayanihan (“Camaraderie”) to Heal as One law, Presidential Spokesman Harry Roque said today in a virtual presser.
The law, which authorized the government to dispense up to PHP8,000 (US$160) to 18 million low-income families, will expire on June 25. Despite its end, the public can expect the second tranche of cash aid expected this week.
“To those who ask if the government will stop giving aid, no. We will proceed with the second tranche of cash aid even if the Bayanihan Act will expire. The expiration will not affect our obligation and the money is still there. It is not affected by the expiration including our obligation to pay,” Roque said in English and Filipino.
He said that the Department of Social Work and Development is currently validating the list of possible beneficiaries that have been submitted to them.
“This is the additional 5 million names which they are evaluating to ensure that they are qualified to become beneficiaries based on the guidelines,” he explained.
Many Filipinos all over the country have lost their jobs due to the COVID-19 pandemic, forcing them to rely on the government for help. Desperate residents would often wait for hours just to get their cash aid, and critics have said that social distancing rules have been disregarded in such instances.
In some cases, even the elderly would line up underneath the scorching hot summer sun to ask for help, putting their health at risk. In one case last month, an 84-year-old man from Bacolod City died of cardiac arrest while applying for cash dole out.