CAGAYAN DE ORO CITY, Apr. 1 (PIA)–“We are working on not only on managing the short-term effects of COVID-19, but also addressing its medium and long-term impacts on the economy,” expressed Economy Response Cluster Head and National Economic and Development Authority-Regional Office X Regional Director Mylah Faye Aurora B. Cariño, CESO III.
The Economy Response Cluster of the Northern Mindanao Regional Inter-Agency Task Force for the Management of Emerging Infectious Diseases (RIATF-MEID) held its second meeting through a video conference, March 31 to discuss initiatives in ensuring adequate food supply, providing social welfare benefits, and protecting economic interests during the community quarantine.
The cluster acts on the recent passage of Republic Act No. 11469 or the “Bayanihan to Heal as One Act” requiring member agencies to implement measures under the Social Amelioration Package for affected workers and businesses (JMC # 1, s. 2020).
Regional Director Joffrey M. Suyao, CESO III of the Department of Labor and Employment (DOLE)-10 assures the body that the agency is in full force implementing its COVID Assistance Measures Program (CAMP) and Tulong Panghanapbuhay Sa Ating Disadvantaged/ Displaced Workers (TUPAD), both providing assistance to workers and Micro, Small and Medium Enterprises affected by the declaration of a State of Calamity.
As of March 30, a total of 626 applications has been evaluated covering 9,920 workers, and ten batches of grants have been submitted for processing and payment.
Department of Agriculture-Regional Field Office (DA)-10 Regional Technical Director Carlota S. Madriaga reported that the agency is on top of its Cash Assistance for Rice Farmers and Survival and Recovery (SURE) Assistance Program. The Php61.9Mn current disbursed budget for cash relief assisted at least 4,121 farmers in rice-producing areas.
DA-10 also partners with the Land Bank of the Philippines to provide 34 farmers’ cooperatives and associations with credit facilities. Loans released stands at Php16.9 million, with recipients mostly in Bukidnon province.
The agency also confirms that the 171,000 metric-ton rice inventory for March 2020 can sustain the region for the next two months.
For her part, Regional Director Linda O. Boniao, CESO V, of the Department of Trade and Industry (DTI)-10 said they are preparing to roll its program on Enterprise Rehabilitation Financing and Economic Recovery Financing, which received a national budget of Php1.0Bn.
The purpose of the program is to help registered small businesses restart and recoup by the time the pandemic subsides. Boniao also reiterated that Loans Moratorium has been in place since March 16 until April 15.
Moreover, the Department of Social Welfare and Development (DSWD)-10 reported that around 23,000 prepositioned goods are safely stored in the regional Philippine Army camps, ready for distribution to identified beneficiaries of the Social Amelioration Package.
Livelihood assistance of up to Php15,000 are also available for affected workers and their families, following the criteria set by the agency. Other programs include provision of financial support and burial assistance for COVID-19 casualties.
The virtual meeting was successfully conducted with several recommendations to the RIATF-MEID for the passage of resolutions requesting the malls/business establishments/ building owners to waive rental fees for one month during the quarantine/lockdown period;
Utilities (electricity/water/internet) to extend payment of bills for two to three months; Financial institutions/firms to extend the payment period for credit card and payment/ waiver of fees during quarantine period;
Banks/financial institutions for moratorium in the payment of loans; LGUs to ensure unhampered/free flow movement of goods and supplies in checkpoints across LGUs; and businesses to continue operations with the preparation of business continuity plans.
The cluster members also agreed to commence the preparation of the economic recovery and rehabilitation plan.
It was participated in by 25 member and guest agencies, including the private sector. (NEDA-X/PIA10)