MANILA, Philippines — The Department of the Interior and Local Government refuted circulating rumors that only vaccinated individuals will receive cash aid for the enhanced community quarantine this month.
“There is no truth whatsoever to the rumor that only vaccinated individuals will be given ayuda,” DILG spokesperson Jonathan Malaya on Thursday said in a statement.
Malaya is referring to the cash aid to be given to low-income families as millions in Metro Manila are again forced to the confines of their homes for a two-week ECQ period.
The DILG official said “Ayuda 2” as approved by President Rodrigo Duterte will be given to low-income individuals and families in the National Capital Region regardless of their vaccination status.
“The guidelines are now being finalized for the immediate release of the funds following the same system implemented during Ayuda 1 last April,” he added.
Thousands were seen lining up in wee hours of the morning
An ABS-CBN tweet report on Thursday morning quoted Las Piñas City spokesperson Paul San Miguel as saying that they received reports that people flocked to vaccination sites after hearing a “no vaccine, no ayuda” rumor that he said is not true.
Malaya reiterated that vaccination will continue during the ECQ period, and four million doses have been made available to Metro Manila to be used in the coming two weeks.
“Therefore, all individuals scheduled for vaccination will be considered Authorized Persons Outside Residence (APORs) and will be allowed to pass by our checkpoints upon presentation of vaccination schedule,” he added.
Fake news probe
Metropolitan Manila Development Authority chairman Benhur Abalos has asked the National Bureau of Investigation to look into the said rumors that those not vaccinated will not receive aid, which he also dismissed as false information.
Manila was similarly flocked with thousands seeking to be vaccinated on Thursday, a day before NCR undergoes a two-week lockdown period. Photos showed that people have been lining up since Wednesday night.
In a statement on Thursday afternoon, the Manila Public Information Office said they received reports that those who lined up also received wrong information that those not vaccinated will not be allowed to leave their homes.
The Manila PIO added that residents from Cavite, Laguna, Rizal and Bulacan also lined up for the chance to be vaccinated.
President Rodrigo Duterte last week warned those who refuse to be vaccinated that they will not be allowed to go out of their homes. In a public address on Wednesday night, he said in Filipino: “If you go out of your houses, I will tell the police to bring you back. You’ll be escorted back to your houses because you are a walking spreader.”
The Inter-Agency Task Force for the Management of Emerging Infectious Diseases explained that since many people in Metro Manila have yet to be vaccinated, there will no distinctions between Authorized Persons outside of Residence (APOR) who have been vaccinated and have yet to receive the doses.
Amid rumors circulating on the vaccination status of people, Justice Secretary Menardo Guevarra said he will ask the task force to ramp up its communication efforts on disseminating information.
Guevarra, a senior member of the task force, told reporters: “The IATF spokesperson and the DILG secretary are communicating the IATF guidelines correctly, but something is lost somehow when the information is cascaded below.”
“I will request the IATF to further strengthen its communication efforts. There is also a standing DOJ directive to the NBI to track down people maliciously and willfully spreading false information in cyberspace,” he added.
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