Time to set up a digital wallet if you don't have one already. Any form of subsidies in the future should be transferred electronically as limiting the physical handling of cash also reduces the chances for corruption, the head of President Rodrigo Duterte's economic team said.
The government distributed billions of pesos in subsidies to all poor households for two months under first pandemic respose law, Bayanihan. More targeted aid is slated under the second such law, which is awaiting Duterte's signature.
In his weekly address to the nation aired early Tuesday, Duterte said he would send to jail those found to be engaged in the corruption of COVID-19 funds and in state-run PhilHealth.
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"Mahirap gumawa ng kalokohan by computer. Walang cash na hinahandle, the intended beneficiafies tumanggap ng subisides (It's hard to fool around when using a computer, when you're not handling cash. The intended beneficiaries receive the subsidies)," Finance Secretary Carlos Dominguez told the President.
"We think all subsidy programs in the future should be digitized, in other words through digitalization of all transactions," he said.
Duterte said: "Ang pinakaimportante rito ang paghulog sa bangko ng gobyerno diretso sa empleyado, no intermediary, no intervention of any kind (The most important thing here is, after the government deposits the money in the bank, it goes straight to the employee, no intermediary, no intervention of any kind)"
The need to maintain physical distancing during the virus quarantine has made cashless transactions imperative. The Department of Transportation said Monday all expressways would soon be required to accept only electronic payments.
Duterte said he ordered “stricter measures” on the use of public funds under the Bayanihan laws.
"Gusto ko ipaalam sa lahat, upon my oath of office, wag kayong mag-aalala, lahat ng pera na nagastos dito sa away ng COVID ay ma-aaccount, I will hold myself accountable for this solemn duty," Duterte said.
(I want it to be known to everyone, upon my oath of office, do not worry, all the money spent in the fight against COVID will be accounted, I will hold myself accountable for this solemn duty.)