MANILA, Philippines — With more local government units declaring granular lockdowns amid a surge in Covid-19 infections, Quezon City Rep. Alfred Vargas urged the Department of Social Welfare and Development (DSWD) to ensure that those who are locked down are not “locked out” of government aid.
“Nanawagan po tayo sa DSWD na agarang magbigay ng ayuda sa mga apektadong komunidad. Huwag po sana silang ma-lock out sa tulong ng pamahalaan,” Vargas said.
(We are calling the attention of the DSWD to immediately provide assistance to the affected communities. I hope they are not locked out of the assistance from our authorities.)
The chair of the House Committee on Social Services urged DSWD to start engaging LGUs to determine if there is a need to augment their resources.
He said the department could provide additional food packs. “Our LGUs’ resources are already stretched thin because of various other concerns, so I hope the DSWD is in constant communication to ensure any cry for help is responded to immediately,” he said.
Earlier, the DSWD had announced it was ready to help LGUs provide aid, particularly in the form of family food packs.
According to the DSWD-Disaster Response Operations Monitoring and Information Center (DROMIC), the agency has available stockpiles and standby funds amounting to over P1.22 billion.
The DSWD said that it has an available stockpile worth P840.5 million, P449.8 million non-food items and P258.76 million worth of food items.
A total of 284, 300 family food packs worth P131.94 million are available for distribution. Meanwhile, the agency has allocated P387.22 million as standby funds.
The lawmaker also said his committee would schedule a hearing to discuss the need for another enabling law for the social amelioration program.
“While there is a remote possibility of enforcing a nationwide lockdown again because of efforts to reopen the economy, I think we still need to make allowances for any eventuality,” Vargas said.
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