4 nabbed in Laguna for spending SAP cash assistance on ‘mahjong’

Marje Pelayo   •   May 12, 2020   •   445

LAGUNA, Philippines — Four individuals in Barangay Prinza, Calauan are facing multiple charges after being caught playing ‘mahjong,’ a classic gambling game originally from China,  using the money they received from the government’s Social Amelioration Program (SAP) cash assistance. 

The Calauan Police identified the four as farmers Aldrien Platero and Michael Patriarca; Magdalena Patriarca, a vendor; and Rinia Marlveda, a tricycle driver. 

Authorities seized from the suspects mahjong tiles and P300 cash which they used as a bet. 

“Pati po ang ating mga 4Ps, mino-monitor po natin kung talaga po bang ang ayuda na galing sa gobyerno ay ginagamit nila sa tama (We are monitoring our 4Ps [beneficiaries] if they really are using the government cash aid properly),” explained Police Major Julius Rebanal.

“Nakalulungkot na dapat gamitin nila sa pambili ng pagkain, mga pangangailangan, ay sa pagsusugal lang po napupunta (It’s just so sad that instead of using the money to buy food and essential needs, they just spend it on gambling),” he added.

The suspects are facing charges for violating the Anti-Gambling Law and non-cooperation during a public health emergency under Republic Act 11332. MNP (with details from Sherwin Culubong)

DILG orders LGUs to submit liquidation reports on cash aid until May 28

Robie de Guzman   •   May 28, 2020

MANILA, Philippines – The Department of the Interior and Local Government (DILG) on Thursday reminded the local government units (LGU) that they only have until May 28 to submit their liquidation reports on the distribution of the first tranche of government emergency subsidy under the social amelioration program (SAP).

In a statement, DILG spokesperson, Undersecretary Jonathan Malaya said Interior Secretary Eduardo Año issued the directive as the government prepares to release the second tranche of the cash assistance.

“As per directive of Secretary Eduardo Año, kailangang tapusin na ng mga LGUs ngayon ang liquidation report nila ng first tranche at isubmit na nila ito pati na ang encoded list of beneficiaries sa DSWD (Department of Social Welfare and Development),” Malaya said.

“Only then can we proceed with the 2nd tranche,” he added.

The DSWD earlier called on LGUs to expedite the encoding and transmittal of their liquidation reports as these would be used for the validation of beneficiaries and checking of the disbursement for the release of SAP’s second tranche.

The SAP is part of the government’s efforts to assist families heavily affected by the community quarantines due to the novel coronavirus disease (COVID-19) pandemic.

The DSWD said the validation and vetting process by its field offices can only be done when the data per LGU have been submitted in its entirety.

The department noted that the process will take approximately 15 days since validation on municipal, provincial, and regional levels takes place at the field office levels.

Based on reports from the DSWD, the DILG said only 472 out of the 1,634 LGUs nationwide have so far submitted their liquidation reports to that agency as of May 26, 2020.

Malaya said that he hopes that the payout of the 2nd tranche of SAP cash aid would be more efficient and systematic considering that LGUs must have already learned lessons and ironed out the kinks and lapses during the first payout.

“We recognize the huge difficulties encountered by LGUs in the SAP distribution of the first tranche. It is quite understandable because this is the biggest financial cash aid for poor families in the country’s history,” he said.

“Pero ngayon inaasahan namin na mas magiging mabilis na ang proseso dahil pinagdaanan na nila ito at alam na nila ngayon kung paano mas magiging maayos at sistematiko ang pamamahagi ng SAP,” he said.

Malaya also said that the Philippine National Police (PNP) will assist the DSWD and the LGUs during the distribution of the 2nd tranche in geographically-isolated and disadvantaged areas of the country. 

“Nakahanda naman po ang ating kapulisan para alalayan ang DSWD at mga LGUs sa pamimigay ng ayuda sa mga malalayo at ilang lugar sa ating bansa para masiguro na matatanggap ito ng ating mga kababayan,” he said.

The DILG official also said that LGUs are likewise asked to accept returns of SAP cash aid by beneficiaries who received similar benefits from other government agencies such as Pantawid Pamilyang Pilipino Program (4Ps), Department of Labor and Employment’s COVID-19 Adjustment Measures program, and Social Security System’s Small Business Wage Subsidy program.

He said that by returning their SAP aid, these beneficiaries ensure that other families who are also in need of assistance will be given the emergency subsidy.

“Every unreturned amount means that a similar family in need is deprived of cash aid,” he said.

Malaya said that all returned cash subsidies may be given by LGUs to “left-out” families within their jurisdiction prior to liquidation, provided they are qualified to receive the SAP based on DSWD guidelines.

For cash aid returned by beneficiaries after the liquidation by LGUs, Malaya said this shall be remitted to DSWD field offices.  “An official receipt must be issued to the beneficiaries as proof of refund,” he said.

NCRPO: No more gambling during wakes

Marje Pelayo   •   February 11, 2020

MANILA, Philippines – The National Capital Region Police Office (NCRPO) on Tuesday (February 11) ordered a ban on all forms of gambling in Metro Manila, even during wakes and fiesta celebrations.

“Nag-issue ako ng directive na maski sa patay bawal,” NCRPO director Maj. Gen. Debold Sinas told reporters at Camp Bagong Diwa in Taguig City.

The NCRPO Chief added that his directive was already cascaded to local chief executives across the metropolis.

These include any form of numbers game like color games, video karera and ‘sakla’ which gamblers usually set up in wakes.

Sinas added that they received reports that funeral shops allegedly sell or rent out cadavers for fake wakes to set up betting games.

Ang guidance ko pakiusapan muna at pag ayaw ay saka i-raid para hindi nila masabi na wala din kami konsiderasyon (My guidance to the police is to talk to the organizers and if they refuse, they may raid the location so they may not accuse us of being inconsiderate),” Sinas explained.

The NCRPO chief warned to automatically relieve police official in charge once he received reports of gambling in his area of duty.  

“Lantarang saklaan, sabungan, number games, VK pag andyan yan ibig sabihin meron talaga kayong proteksyon (If sakla or card games, derby, number games, video karera is still in practice in your area, that would mean you are a protector),” Sinas warned members of the police.

Such effort by the NCRPO is in support of Philippine National Police Chief DG Archie Gamboa’s ‘no-take policy’ in order to curb illegal gambling in the country.

Other police officials, meanwhile, also expressed similar support to the program.  

“On behalf of the MPD, I would like to pledge to our chief PNP and our regional director to support all their focus program and program trust the “NO TAKE POLICY” and to go against all forms of illegal activities,” assured Manila Police Director PBGen. Bernabe Balba.

“Ang buong SPD under my leadership are fully abide with the full commitment of following the no-take policy of our Chief PNP,” added Southern Police District Acting Director PCol. Emmanuel Peralta.

Sinas, likewise, encouraged the public to capture a video or a photo of any gambling activities in Metro Manila and immediately report the incident to the nearest police authority. MNP (with details from Lea Ylagan)

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8 suspected Chinese loan sharks, Filipino arrested at NAIA

Robie de Guzman   •   November 1, 2019

MANILA, Philippines – Eight Chinese nationals who are alleged members of a loan shark syndicate and their Filipino driver were arrested by authorities after purportedly attempting to abduct a fellow Chinese at the Ninoy Aquino International Airport (NAIA) on Friday.

Authorities identified the Chinese suspects as Yugi Cheng, Yuhang Huang, Yao Xiang, Xin Zhao, Liu Huan, Pan Changlin, Nie Shaolin, Gan Siguo while the Filipino driver was named as Jesus Solinap Jr.

Airport officials said the suspects were arrested after they were caught forcing a man into a vehicle.

The suspects have been turned over to the Philippine National Police Anti-Kidnapping Group as well as the vehicle they used.

Authorities have earlier reported about the operation of Chinese loan sharks and kidnappers who abduct fellow Chinese nationals who fail to cough up their gambling debts.

Police said that more than 50 cases of casino gambling-related kidnappings involving Chinese nationals have been reported since 2017. Victims are usually held captive until their relatives agree to pay ransom through wire transfer in exchange for the hostage’s release. – RRD (with details from Correspondent Mai Bermudez)

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