THE Department of Social Welfare and Development (DSWD) said it has released P48 billion in emergency cash subsidies to local governments and welfare offices to help Filipino families affected by the Luzon-wide lockdown meant to contain the coronavirus disease pandemic.

More than 77,000 low-income families not covered by the government’s conditional cash grants have received P424 million in cash aid as of April 13, Social Welfare Secretary Rolando Joselito D. Bautista said at a news briefing on Monday.

About 3.7 million poorest of the poor families under the state’s cash grant program have received P16.3 billion in financial assistance, he added.

Public utility drivers in the National Capital Region were among the first to receive the cash aid, Mr. Bautista said.

He added that more than 368,000 family food packs have been distributed to 12 regions in the country.

The social amelioration program is on top of the agency’s regular financial assistance programs, he said.

“The agency has served 12,204 clients with COVID-19-related concerns, including medical and burial assistance worth P57 million,” Mr. Bautista said.

The government allotted P200 billion in cash aid for about 18 million low-income families under a law that gave President Rodrigo R. Duterte special powers to deal with the coronavirus disease 2019 pandemic.

Eligible families will get P5,000 to P8,000 depending on the prevailing wage rate.

Mr. Bautista said eligible families “should make a noise” if they haven’t received their share to ensure local government officials are made accountable. — Genshen L. Espedido