SENATE President Pro Tempore Ralph G. Recto found it irrational for the central government to nationalize an activity, such as the distribution of cash assistance, that can be better delivered by local government units. 

“Big cities like Manila have the boots on the ground and the muscle memory to conduct large scale distribution of aid, whether in cash or in kind, complex operations which understaffed national agencies may find hard to do on their own,’” said Mr. Recto in a press release on Wednesday.  

The statement comes after President Rodrigo R. Duterte, in a late Monday night televised address, threatened to strip one city of the authority to distribute the cash aid for the two-week lockdown in Metro Manila.  

“The big cities and provinces have division size personnel. Then you’ll replace them with one platoon of clueless people who don’t know the terrain,” he said. 

The senator said maintaining a partnership with local governments “saves the national government from embarrassment if the job it has assumed to do on its own will end up a flop.”  

The cash aid distribution started Wednesday with all local governments in charge.  

Police officers were deployed at the distribution sites to help ensure the observance of health protocols.  

“What happened last week at various vaccination centers where people swarmed should not happen with the cash aid distributions,” police chief Guillermo T. Eleazar said in a news release on Wednesday. — Alyssa Nicole O. Tan and Bianca Angelica D. Añago