|President Rodrigo Roa Duterte updates the nation on the government's efforts in addressing the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) at the Malago Clubhouse in Malacañang on April 3, 2020. TOTO LOZANO/PRESIDENTIAL PHOTO|
President Rodrigo Roa Duterte on Friday called on the Reserve Officers’ Training Corps (ROTC) members to help the Department of Social Welfare and Development (DSWD) in handing over cash assistance and food packs to vulnerable sectors after designating the department as lead agency in distributing emergency subsidy.
Disappointed by the flood of complaints, the President decided to transfer the task of providing relief from local officials to the DSWD.
“Sinabi ko kay Rolly, General Bautista, siya ang Secretary ng DSWD, ‘Ikaw na ang humawak’,” the President said during his talk to the nation aired Friday night. “Ang problema ngayon sabi nila — sabi niya, ‘Hindi kaya.’ Hindi kaya ang distribution, kulang ang tao niya.”
“Sabi ko, well, he’s a military man. He can always ask the Armed Forces to… Distribution lang naman ‘yan. Hindi ‘yan pamulitika,” he further said.
The President then called on idealistic young volunteers to help the DSWD in distributing the emergency subsidy at least in the country’s urban centers.
“I’m calling upon mga ROTC, get in touch with DSWD. Doon sa mga siyudad, just give your accreditation, maybe an ID at makatulong kayo.”
Through the “Bayanihan to Heal as One Act,” Congress granted President Duterte special powers to realign certain state funds to deliver P200 billion in emergency subsidies to 18 million low-income households that have lost their sources of income amid the COVID-19 pandemic.
The P200-billion program for distribution in cash and basic needs over the next two months is the largest direct financial assistance program granted by the government to Filipino families in the country’s history.