STRENGTH – Governor Wanda Vázquez Garced and the executive director of the Financial Advisory Authority and Fiscal Agency (AAFAF), Omar Marrero Díaz, confirmed on Monday that the United States Congress extended until December 31, 2021 the period for The government of Puerto Rico continues the disbursement process through assistance programs to different sectors of Puerto Rico, in accordance with the Strategic Disbursement Plan for the Coronavirus Relief Fund (CRF) and established by the CARES Act.
“This extension will allow the government to continue tackling the effects of the COVID-19 pandemic on multiple fronts in Puerto Rico. In addition, an additional 150 million dollars are guaranteed for contact tracing programs through the Puerto Rico Municipal Case Investigation and Contact Tracing System, ”the first executive stated in written communication.
Also, Marrero Díaz explained that at present the funds disbursed under these programs amount to 1.49 billion dollars of the 2.2 billion dollars assigned to Puerto Rico.
During the validity of the programs of the Coronavirus Relief Fund, 480.8 million dollars have been distributed to the economic sectors of the island. This has benefited 7,152 employers who received help for payroll, 25,381 small businesses, 1,269 medium businesses, 190,064 self-employed and 562 hotels and related businesses.
In addition, 390 million dollars have been distributed to ensure that private and public hospitals have the necessary tools to respond to the emergency caused by the pandemic, including the risk incentive payment “hazard pay” for health professionals who are at risk of contagion from COVID-19. Regarding the response to COVID-19 and the tracking of cases, the Government of Puerto Rico has made available more than 270 million dollars to implement these programs at the municipal level, as well as for the acquisition of personal protective equipment, material of disinfection and for the implementation of other additional programs aimed at promoting social distancing. In addition, over $ 300,000 was allocated for the acquisition of deep-freeze refrigerators and materials necessary to protect the distribution of vaccines against COVID-19.
$ 40 million was also distributed for a dozen proposals for telemedicine programs to ensure that medical service is available to all residents of Puerto Rico. On the other hand, 200 million dollars were destined for the 78 municipalities for eligible expenses related to the emergency.
On the other hand, vouchers for the total amount of 17,336,460.36 dollars have been redeemed to 21,522 high school graduates, who obtained the technological equipment and internet services to be able to access their classes at the university or postsecondary educational institution virtually. Likewise, 45,920,342.96 dollars in internet access subsidies were distributed to 143,425 students and teachers of the public education system.
“As of December 17, 2020, $ 580,437,565 of funds left over from the reserve and programs that had met their objective remained to be distributed or obligated. Although this amount would have been incurred before December 30, 2020, our goal is to use these funds efficiently and to ensure that the Department of Health and other emergency response institutions have the necessary resources to continue their efforts. It is important to note that this extension will allow us to secure and reserve an additional 150 million dollars to extend the contact tracing program through the Puerto Rico Municipal Case Investigation and Contact Tracking System until December 31, 2021, “he explained. the executive director of the AAFAF
Marrero Díaz indicated that an additional 150 million dollars were allocated to the Unemployment Fund Trust to guarantee its solvency. An additional $ 150 million will also be allocated for the island’s public and private hospitals.
“We will continue to closely monitor all programs and disbursements so that economic aid reaches the sectors that need it most. Meanwhile, our administration will continue to work hard to disburse the remaining funds through these programs for the benefit of the most productive sectors and through other entities that will also join our efforts to support the communities ”, concluded Marrero Díaz .
To see the progress of the disbursements of CRF funds through these programs, visit www.aafaf.pr.gov.