Cash assistance for the poor in lockdown areas coming in early June

Content image - Phnom Penh Post
Residents queue to receive food assistance in a red zone in Tuol Sangke I commune in Phnom Penh’s Russey Keo district. Yousos Apdoulrashim

The Ministry of Planning and the Ministry of Social Affairs, Veterans and Youth Rehabilitation will provide subsidies in early June to low-income families who are facing financial difficulties during the large-scale lockdown.

The working group of the two ministries called on all residents to cooperate with local authorities and youth volunteers of the Union Youth Federations of Cambodia (UYFC) when giving interviews to collect data for determining which families are most in need.

Theng Panhathorn, government delegate in charge of the directorate general of planning, said in a special forum broadcast on state-run TVK on May 12 that the planning ministry plays an important role in identifying target families in the lockdown areas which can receive support as announced on May 11.

Other groups that will be considered for aid are those living in the same house, though they are not relatives. The group will interview them to see whether they have already received other government support.

The poor families in the lockdown areas who hold IDPoor1 and IDPoor2 cards will not receive any additional support as they are receiving social assistance cash every month already.

Panhathorn said the planning ministry must complete this work within two weeks. The data will then be sent to the social affairs ministry to prepare cash payments for those eligible to receive them.

"Our work requires well-trained personnel to interview people. Therefore, in order to implement this work effectively, the ministry will train workers to give these interviews on May 14, and we may start the process of interviewing people early next week,” Panhathorn said.

The interview will be carried out by human resources workers in each commune and UYFC volunteers. Direct interviews will be carried out for people in the yellow zones, while indirect ones will be done for red zone and orange zone inhabitants via telephone apps developed by the planning ministry.

Panhathon said poor people who live in lockdown areas but had not received assistance can complain to the relevant authorities so that they can check their status to see whether they are eligible to get cash support.

"This is a procedure that we think will be better and make the process of supporting poor families more effective and transparent for our people affected by Covid-19," he said.

Social affairs ministry secretary of state Samheng Boros reiterated that this social assistance is not available to all people, but only to the poor.

"We will try to complete this work in late May or early June to provide subsidies to our people," he said.

Boros added that so far, there are about 1,000 young volunteers from the UYFC who will interview people directly and indirectly, and the working group will try to start implementing provision of cash support in early June.

On May 11, the government issued a press release on the implementation of the programme "Social assistance in cash after the lockdown" to support the families of people with low living standards who are facing difficulties after the implementation of large-scale lockdown measures.

The directive also set up the procedures for providing cash social assistance to families with Covid-19 deaths and those with Covid-19 infections who are having difficulties.

This provision is for the people in the lockdown areas of Phnom Penh and Kandal province’s Takmao town as well as in Sihanoukville, with different amounts of cash allowance for each.