"In accordance with the president's directives during a recent cabinet meeting, the social assistance will continue to be offered," he noted after attending a virtual ceremony held to commemorate Pancasila Day in Jakarta on Monday.
The government is preparing to continue to distribute social assistance to people affected by the COVID-19 pandemic. The assistance comprises basic necessities for those residing in the Jakarta, Bogor, Depok, Tangerang, and Bekasi (Jabodetabek) area as well as cash social assistance for those living outside the area.
During the pandemic, the government has distributed social assistance to the people apart from regular programs, such as the Family Hope Program (PKH) and Non-Cash Food Aid (BPNT).
Some of the forms of assistance include packages of basic necessities, cash social aid, and direct cash assistance from village budgets for those impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic.
The minister remarked that currently, distribution of the third stage of basic food assistance was complete and would continue to the next stage of aid distribution. The disbursal of cash social assistance is also partially complete.
"The first phase of social assistance has been completed and the second and third stages will follow thereafter," Batubara stated.
The minister pointed out that the nation's vast geographical landscape and varying conditions had impeded quick distribution of social assistance to pandemic-affected communities and made the process more challenging.
Batubara highlighted the government’s continued endeavors to improve the distribution of social assistance based on the results of evaluation of the initial stages.
He emphasized that social assistance pertaining to COVID-19 countermeasures was only provided to pandemic-affected individuals, who were not recorded as recipients of social assistance in the government's regular aid program. The distribution of aid will be halted after the pandemic ends.
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