^
Duterte mulls selling government properties to raise COVID-19 funds
Addressing Monday night’s government pandemic task force meeting, Duterte said the emergence of more transmissible COVID-19 variants from India, the United Kingdom and South Africa poses a more dangerous situation.
KJ Rosales, file

Duterte mulls selling government properties to raise COVID-19 funds

Emmanuel Tupas, Alexis Romero, Neil Jayson Servallos (The Philippine Star) - May 19, 2021 - 12:00am

MANILA, Philippines — Bracing for “the worst” from the pandemic’s more infectious COVID-19 variants, President Duterte is mulling selling off government properties to raise funds to address a possibly bigger crisis.

Addressing Monday night’s government pandemic task force meeting, Duterte said the emergence of more transmissible COVID-19 variants from India, the United Kingdom and South Africa poses a more dangerous situation.

At the same time, there is no guarantee that the COVID-19 vaccines would arrive on time, he said.

“We will just have to prepare for the worst,” the President said. “We continue to prepare and we calibrate our preparedness in accordance with each propagation. If the new variants are approaching and many people are getting sick, then we will go full blast in making everything operational.”

Along this line, Duterte said he is ready to sell government properties to fund pandemic-related expenses.

“My statement that I would sell the properties of the government might come true because our funds are being spent,” he said in Filipino.

“We have spent maybe...on the final counting, almost a trillion, and there’s no... end in sight,” he added.

Duterte said it would please him if government has excess COVID-19 vaccines and if building infrastructure for the COVID-19 response system continues because it takes only one infected person to propagate transmission of the more aggressive variants.

“It is good to prepare for a more serious attack,” he said, noting how some areas like Taiwan have reimposed lockdowns.

Duterte expressed confidence that his officials would be able to handle the problems posed by the new variants. He also reminded the public to comply with the government’s directives on safety standards.

“So kindly obey your government and do not be too complacent,” the President said. “If you do not wish to be vaccinated, do not leave your homes so you won’t infect other people.”

‘Ayuda’ nearly complete

On Monday night, it was reported to President Duterte that P21.18 billion has been distributed to beneficiaries of the government’s “ayuda” or cash assistance in the National Capital Region (NCR) and the provinces of Bulacan, Rizal, Cavite and Laguna that make up the NCR Plus bubble.

Department of the Interior and Local Government (DILG) Secretary Eduardo Año said the amount represents 92.45 percent of the P22.9 billion allocated for poor households in NCR Plus areas.

He said of the 100 local government units (LGUs) in NCR Plus, 44 have completed the distribution of the cash aid, including the cities of Manila, Caloocan and Pasay in Metro Manila, and Biñan, San Pedro, Cabuyao and Sta. Rosa in Laguna.

“In the coming week, we will make sure that all the cash aid has been distributed and the complaints and appeals addressed,” Año said in Filipino.

An individual beneficiary is entitled to P1,000 while a family of four and above are given P4,000.

Yesterday, the Land Transportation Franchising and Regulatory Board (LTFRB) said it has completed about P323.3 million in payouts to drivers under the service contracting program (SCP).

COVID-19 VARIANT FUNDS
Philstar
  • Latest
  • Trending
Latest
Are you sure you want to log out?
X
Login

Philstar.com is one of the most vibrant, opinionated, discerning communities of readers on cyberspace. With your meaningful insights, help shape the stories that can shape the country. Sign up now!

FORGOT PASSWORD?
SIGN IN
or sign in with