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QC councilor slapped with show-cause order over food distribution activity

Franco Luna - Philstar.com
QC councilor slapped with show-cause order over food distribution activity
Photo shows QCPD personnel enforcing quarantine protocols at a feeding event organized by Councilor Franz Pumaren.
Release / PNP PIO

MANILA, Philippines — The Quezon City local government issued a show-cause order Wednesday to Councilor Franz Pumaren demanding an explanation for his food distribution activity in Brgy. Old Balara and the subsequent quarantine violations.

In a statement, the LGU said that the City Legal Department is already conducting the necessary investigation over these reports and will file cases "as warranted", while the City Epidemiology and Surveillance Unit has been instructed to conduct COVID-19 testing among participants of the activity.

A spot report from Batasan Police Station 6 said that Pumaren filed a request to conduct his "Kongsina ni Franz (Meals on Wheels)" activity to distribute 300 sacks of rice intended for 6,000 residents of the community at Liwanag-Dupax Street with some 50 members of his staff. 

The report also noted that barangay watchmen were absent to assist the eleven enforcers present in the enforcement, adding that the crowd "inadvertently forgot the physical distancing" after a sudden rain shower. "Due to a voluminous number of people their effort proved futile," it read. 

Pumaren at a press conference asserted that the barangay had been furnished a letter informing them of the activity but admitted that no contact tracing forms were given to the food pack recipients.

He insisted, though, that health protocols were still enforced by his staff.

"There was really no problem. It just so happened that it suddenly rained, and that's why things got messy...it's just unfortunate that this is what happened," he said in Filipino. "I think this is a learning experience for us. We'll have to change the system."

The councilor vowed to monitor the situation moving forward and said he would offer assistance in the event of coronavirus transmission. 

Mayor Joy Belmonte said the city government’s policy was to go after violators of health and safety protocols and hold them accountable for their actions, "regardless of status or position."

She added that all city residents, including officials, will be prosecuted if they violate health regulations and endanger the safety of the residents.

Disclosure: Quezon City Mayor Joy Belmonte is a shareholder of Philstar Global Corp., which operates digital news outlet Philstar.com. This article was produced following editorial guidelines.

COVID-19 NOVEL CORONAVIRUS PHILIPPINE NATIONAL POLICE PNP QCPD QUEZON CITY LOCAL GOVERNMENT QUEZON CITY POLICE DISTRICT
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