Gov’t Floats Cash Relief for Monks in Pandemic

Buddhist monks, wearing protective face masks stand outside the temple of the Emerald Buddha hoping for devotees to offer alms or gifts at dawn in Bangkok, Thailand, Wednesday, May 27, 2020. Photo: Gemunu Amarasinghe / AP

BANGKOK — The government on Thursday said they are deliberating on an aid package for hundreds of thousands of monks affected by the coronavirus pandemic.

Prime Minister’s Office chief Tewan Liptapanlop said the National Office of Buddhism urged the government to pay a cash of 100 baht per day to approximately 200,000 monks at 40,000 temples nationwide, amounting to around 400-500 million baht of assistance per month.

“All temples are facing the same problem of a lack of visitors,” Tewan said. “Some don’t have money to pay for electricity and water bills.”

Tewan said Gen. Prayut Chan-o-cha appointed him to decide on the issue.


Temples are open, but visitors must practice social distancing, and large scale events are banned. Tewan said this relief aid package is similar to the one used in 2009 for monks in the Deep South provinces who had been unable to collect alms due to secessionist violence in the region. 


The money would be doled out to temples according to the number of monks there.

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