THE national government approved the request of local governments to extend the deadline for the distribution of cash aid in Metro Manila and four neighboring provinces, according to the presidential palace. The Interior and Local Government department extended the deadline until May 15, Presidential Spokesperson Herminio “Harry” L. Roque, Jr. said in a televised news briefing on Tuesday. Mr. Roque said the government considered the delays caused by the ban on mass gathering and adjustments being made to make the distribution efforts more flexible. Local governments were previously given more than two weeks to distribute the government aid for residents in the so-called NCR Plus bubble — composed of the National Capital Region (NCR) and the provinces of Laguna, Cavite, Rizal, and Bulacan — which was placed under a two-week enhanced community quarantine on March 29. Mr. Roque on Monday admitted that the distribution of cash aid to low-income families had been slow. Only about P4 billion of the P23-billion fund had been distributed so far, he said. — Kyle Aristophere T. Atienza
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