'A big help': Philippines hands out cash to poor during COVID-19 lockdown

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MANILA: Philippine tricycle driver Jesus Gomez struggled to make a living even before the capital Manila went back into a COVID-19 lockdown last week that forced most of his customers to

that forced most of his customers to stay home and halved his meagre income.

"It's a big help because if there's no cash aid I can't buy gas," said Gomez, who earns 200 pesos on a good day during lockdown. About 80 per cent of people living in the Philippines' sprawling national capital region are eligible for a cash payment to ease the economic pain caused by the latest lockdown. But with only about 10 per cent of the population fully vaccinated and hospitals filling up fast, authorities have few options to slow the spread of the virus.

But they have also struggled to make ends meet during the pandemic, she explained as she sat on a plastic chair waiting for her name to be called to collect her cash.


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