(File photo)

The Sangguniang Panlungsod has passed a resolution calling for a state of calamity declaration in the City currently experiencing a surge of COVID-19 cases.

A formal declaration, to be made by Mayor Lucilo Bayron, will pave way for the release of some P55 million in calamity funds that can be used for assistance to households affected by the lockdowns.

City councilor Victor Oliveros, chair of the appropriations committee, in a phone interview on Wednesday afternoon, said the calamity funds will be intended for the five barangays which have been placed under the Enhanced Community Quarantine (ECQ) due to a surge of COVID-19.

“Out of the quick response, mayroong calamity fund tayo na P55 million. Nag request pa ng realignment na P25 million kasi kukulangin ‘yan para doon sa limang barangay na bibigyan ng mga ayuda. More or less P64 [million] kasi yata ‘yong estimated nila para sa ayuda,” Oliveros said.

He added that financial subsidies will be given also to jeepneys, multicabs, and tricycle drivers including some 12 liters of fuel for jeepneys and multicabs, and two liters for tricycles. The realignment of P25 million budget allocation for the immediate assistance being called for will be pushed as the P55 million calamity fund seemed inadequate.

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“Yong subsidy natin para sa jeepney at multicab para sa libreng sakay ay doon din sa P25 million kukunin. Mayroong P1,000 na ibibigay at paghahatian ng driver at operator and 12 liters of fuel. Sa tricycle naman may cash subsidy na P100 pesos na para sa driver lang kasi mayroon syang babayaran na boundary at 2 liters lang na fuel dahil sila ay papayagang maningil ng pasahe, but of course with limited number of passengers,” Oliveros said.

For the assistance to households affected by ECQ, Oliveros said the implementing agency will have to decide whether the assistance to be given will be in cash or in kind. However, he said that “it might be cash aid” as cash can be used to buy food and the household will decide on their needs.

“Depende na ‘yan sa ating implementing agency or sa ating punong lungsod pero sa ating pagkaka-alam, first information na nakuha natin ay baka i-cash nila para naman ‘yong tao ay maka-resort sa kung saan nya gusto bumili at yong ekonomiya natin ay patuloy na nagiging epektibo,” he said.

While he said they do not expect the funds to last long, he also assured residents that the government is doing everything to combat this COVID-19 pandemic.

“We do not expect them to last. That’s the sad story about it but rest assured that the city government is making the most efficient way of using our funds addressing this pandemic,” he said.

“Kung tutuusin ‘yong P55 million ay napakaliit na salapi para pantulong natin at para sa limang barangay lang ‘yan,” he added.

As of April 20, the city has recorded 193 active cases from a total of 444 confirmed cases with 243 recoveries and 8 deaths.

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