LGUs warned: Don’t politicize COVID aid
Mitchelle L. Palaubsanon (The Freeman) - March 29, 2020 - 12:00am

CEBU, Philippines —  The Department of the Interior and Local Government is warning all local governments against injecting politics in the distribution of relief goods to the poorest of the poor at this time of national calamity.

“We have received reports that some barangays are selective in their distribution of relief goods, requiring the presentation of voter’s IDs or prioritizing their friends and relatives. Wala pong politika sa panahon ng sakuna. Matagal pa ang eleksyon. Serbisyo muna,” DILG Secretary Eduardo Año said in a press statement.

He said that the newly signed RA 11469, otherwise known as “Bayanihan to Heal As One Act,” provides penalties to LGU officials disobeying national government policies or directives during this period of national emergency.

He said that Section 6 of RA 11469 imposes imprisonment of two months or a fine of not more than P1 million or both, at the discretion of the court, for violations of the law.

The DILG chief said that he will not hesitate to file charges against barangay officials injecting politics into relief distribution at this time of national calamity if warranted by evidence.

He said that he has organized monitoring teams in all regions of the country to monitor and investigate the conduct of LGU officials, including barangays.

He said that upon the declaration of “state of calamity,” LGUs are free to utilize their quick response fund to buy food packs to be given out to their less fortunate constituents.

  He then urged those who have complaints against their LGU to report it to the DILG Emergency Operations Center hotlines 02-8876-3454 local 8806/8810 or 02-8925-0343.

Facemasks

Meanwhile, some Sustainable Livelihood Program Associations (SLPAs) and a graduate of SLP skills training who are both engaged in rag and dress making, temporarily shifted their business production to facemasks making as a way of countering the shortage of face masks in Central Visayas due to Covid-19.

Among the SLPAs identified include the Sam-Ang Pantawid SLA in Toledo City; Katawhang Madasigon Sa Brgy Matutinaw SLPA in Badian, Cebu; Kahugpungan Kababayenhang Loonanon (KKL) in Cogon Norte, Loon, Bohol; Damarba SLPA in Basay Negros Oriental and Analyn Lucion  in Argao, Cebu.

In a statement, DSWD-7 said that more than 6,000 pieces of washable and reusable face masks with price ranging from P20 to P30 were already produced and delivered to the different buyers in the provinces of Cebu, Bohol and Negros Oriental as of March 25, 2020.

According to SLP Regional Program Coodinator Rizalina Patindol, the skills of the members are maximized despite the pandemic.

"We always think positive and always welcome other opportunities that would come their way as long as it is safe and legal because it is also their social responsibility to help the community and people as well, especially in time of crisis," she said.

Patindol also added that the production of facemasks is an alternative solution to earn an income while their projects are still affected by the outbreak.

Cebu Program Coordinator Ma. Giovanna Roselyn Vistal said that DSWD-7 was the first one which ordered facemasks from the Sam-ang Pantawid SLA. After which, many government agencies and non-government organizations, including resellers have started ordering as well.

Some of the noted buyers are the Mactan International Airport, DSWD-7, Department of Agrarian Reform in Negros Oriental, some Barangay Local Government Units (BLGUs) in Toledo City and Loon, Bohol.

Program Coordinator Jimmy Crusio said the LGU of Tagbilaran City, Bohol already tapped the Kahugpungan Kababayenhang Loonanon (KKL) to produce 25,000 pieces of facemasks, which will be distributed to the LGU personnel.

 The SLPAs are supported by the DSWD through provision of seed capital fund to start their livelihood projects. JMD (FREEMAN)

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