THE PRESIDENTIAL Palace on Monday thumbed down a new round of government aid for Filipinos amid tighter quarantine rules in Manila, the capital and nearby cities and provinces.

Businesses are still allowed to operate and people may continue working even during the lockdown, presidential spokesman Herminio L. Roque, Jr. told a televised news briefing.

“We don’t need to give assistance similar to what was given during the enhanced community quarantine because everybody can work,” he said in Filipino.

The government this week suspended driving schools, traditional cinemas, video and interactive game arcades, cultural centers, establishments accredited by the Tourism department and cockpit operations.

Mr. Roque said existing subsidies were enough to support those in need. Local governments under granular lockdowns were helping their constituents, he added.

Meanwhile, Mr. Roque said all private employees would be considered “essential workers.” He earlier said traveling workers should not be restricted by the new curfew.

Former Social Welfare Secretary Judy Taguiwalo said poor Filipinos need cash aid even “without the current spike and especially because of the spike and the new restrictions.”

“Many of those with work earn little and many of them are affected by the curfew hours and the checkpoints,” she said in a Facebook Messenger chat.

“Government support is one problem,” she said. “But the main problem remains a lockdown mentality to control the pandemic instead of mass testing, increasing contact tracing, isolation and treatment.”

Ms. Taguiwalo urged local government units to subsidize their constituents “like what they did last year.”

Mr. Roque said imposing granular lockdowns and creating more corridors would be the best way to balance health and the economy amid a fresh spike in coronavirus infections. — Kyle Aristophere T. Atienza