DILG clarifies gov’t COVID-19 aid for all, but poor families will be prioritized

Robie de Guzman   •   March 27, 2020   •   1294

MANILA, Philippines – The Department of the Interior and Local Government (DILG) has clarified that residents from gated communities and private subdivisions can still get assistance from the government amid the novel coronavirus disease (COVID-19) crisis, but they are not a priority.

The DILG made the clarification following reports that the department allegedly said it will not provide assistance to those who live in private subdivisions.

In a statement, DILG Undersecretary Jonathan Malaya stressed that they never said that residents of private subdivisions are in no need of or do not deserve government help amid the public health crisis.

Malaya said the department “strongly condemns the attempt by certain sectors to misrepresent, misquote or otherwise place out of context” his and DILG Secretary Eduardo Año’s earlier statements about the distribution of government assistance.

“What Secretary Año said in his press conference in Malacanang and I said in the DILG show ‘Kuwentuhang Lokal’ on DZMM Teleradyo is that residents of private subdivisions and gated communities who are well-off should not expect food packs or relief goods from the Local Government Units because those are for poor and indigent families who are mostly daily wage earners, no work no pay, and are in dire need of government assistance,” Malaya said.

The DILG official said that the government’s assistance is for all but vulnerable sectors and poor families in need of help will be given a priority.

“We NEVER said that only the poor will be assisted. Of course, the government will assist them. That is why Congress passed RA 11469 or the “Bayanihan to Heal As One Act” so that everyone is helped because COVID-19 affects us all,” Malaya said

“We are not a rich country. We are a poor country. We do not have limitless resources. Thus, we have to prioritize,” he added.

According to Malaya, around 18 million households or 73% of all households in the country are poor or low-income in the informal sector, and are typically under the “no-work, no-pay scheme,” have no SSS, and have negligible or no savings.

“The food packs currently being distributed by the LGUs are meant for them for them to be able to survive this crisis,” he added.

Malaya said that those in the formal economy which is some 6.6 million households all over the country will receive other forms of government assistance during this crisis but not the food packs.

According to Malaya, these types of assistance include the following:

  • Credit facilities and reduced lending rates
  • Reprieve in the payment of national and local taxes, fees and other charges required by law to ease the burden of families and individuals
  • 30-day grace period for the payment of all loans (including salary, personal, housing and motor vehicle loans) including credit card payments without incurring penalties, fees and charges; and
  • A 30-day grace period in the payment of residential rent, without incurring interests, penalties and fees.

“In addition, DOLE’s COVID Adjustment Measures Program (CAMP) will provide cash subsidy to workers in the formal economy who are affected by the crisis, while the TUPAD program, will provide temporary employment for displaced workers,” the DILG said.

“Government has also appealed to private sector employers to assist their employees in this time of hardship and many have responded positively. This does not include special programs by LGUs and other National Government Agencies that are implemented by them separately, like discounts in the payment of Real Property Taxes and other local taxes and fees,” it added.

The department called on the public to refrain from spreading false information as the country responds to the COVID-19 crisis.

“As frontliners in the war against COVID-19, responding to irresponsible and malicious statements take time, effort, and energy from what could have been utilized for more productive pursuits to defeat our common enemy,” it said.

Karagdagang 5,000 doses ng Sinovac, ipadadala ng DILG sa Pasay City

Freema Gloria   •   March 2, 2021

MANILA, Philippines — Sinimulan na rin ngayong araw (March 2) ang pagbabakuna sa mga healthworker sa Pasay City General Hospital (PCGH) gamit ang inisyal na 300 doses ng Sinovac vaccine na ipinadala ng national government.

Unang nagpabakuna sa nasabing ospital si DILG Usec. Jonathan Malaya. Aniya, ito ay upang makahiyakat sa publiko na magpabakuna rin.

“Papaano mahihikayat yung ating mga kababayan na magpabakuna kung mismong yung gaya namin na humihikayat sa kanila ay hindi nagpapabakuna. Kaya namin ginagawa ito” sabi ni Malaya.

Sinabi rin ni Usec. Malaya, nangako ang Department of Interior and Local Government na magpapadala ito ng karagdagang 5,000 doses ng bakuna sa PCGH.

Dagdag pa ni Malaya, batid ng pamahalaan ang hamon sa lungsod ng Pasay kung paano nito nilulutas ang pagkalat pa ng COVID-19 sa lungsod. Kaya nais ng pamahalaan na mabakunahan ang lahat ng frontliners sa Pasay City.

Ayon naman kay Dr. John Victor de Gracia, ang deputy chief ng clinical service ng PCGH, nasa mahigit 400 ang kanilang empleyado, ngunit nasa 100 lamang ang boluntaryong nagpabakuna ng Sinovac. Karamihan umano sa kanila ang mas piniling magpabakuna sa vaccine na gawa ng Pfizer.

Gayunpaman, malaking tulong na rin sa kanila ang bakunang ipinagkaloob sa kanila ng pamahalaan.

“This is really a big help for us because this is another line of protection for us” sabi ni De Gracia.

Sa ngayon, nasa 77 na barangay na ang isinailalim sa localized enhanced community quarantine .

Tatlo rin sa mga nagpositibo sa COVID-19 variant na unang natuklasan sa South Africa ay mga residente ng naturang lungsod.

Ngunit ayon kay Pasay City Mayor Emi Calixto, gumagaling na ang mga nagpositibo sa COVID-19 variant at bumababa na rin ang positivity rate o ang bilang ng mga nagpositibo sa lungsod.

“Doon sa barangays na may South African variant ay aming uulitin ang pagti-test upang makasigurado tayo doon sa naging positive at doon sa mga na-contat trace natin” sabi ni Mayor Calixto.

Nagdagdag na rin ang DILG ng mga contact tracer upang mas mabilis ang pagtunton sa mga nakasalamuha ng mga nagpositibo sa sakit. — Rey Pelayo

Tourism dept. backs DILG move to streamline travel requirements

Robie de Guzman   •   February 23, 2021

MANILA, Philippines – The Department of Tourism (DOT) has expressed its support for the move of the Department of the Interior and Local Government (DILG) to streamline the travel procedures and requirements being imposed by local government units (LGU).

In a statement issued on Tuesday, Tourism Secretary Bernadette Romulo-Puyat said her department has long been advocating for the “simplification of travel requirement as this is critical in making domestic tourism work.”

Citing a survey conducted from November 28 to December 30, 2020, Puyat said that 81 percent of respondents consider the varying LGU requirements as the factor that makes travel most inconvenient.

The survey was conducted by the DOT in partnership with the Asian Institute of Management – Dr. Andrew L. Tan Center for Tourism, and Guide to the Philippines.

Among the common travel requirements being imposed by the LGUs are the medical certificate, other types of pre-travel or test-on-arrival COVID tests and quarantine.  

At the destinations, some rules that need to be standardized are those that relate to RT-PCR for children/infant, rooming or capacity limits and age restrictions vis-à-vis inter- and intra-regional movement of domestic tourists, the DOT said.

“Streamlining entry requirements will make travelling in the new normal more convenient while also protecting the public’s safety and well-being,” Puyat said.

“Furthermore, this will also help in preventing the entry of those who falsify documents by standardizing validation protocols,” she added.

The DILG earlier expressed support for proposals to place the entire country under modified general community quarantine (MGCQ) classification to “harmonize” regulations being implemented by LGUs.

DILG spokesperson and Undersecretary Jonathan Malaya said there is a need to remove “redundancies” and impose less stringent requirements for domestic tourist travel, while managing health risks at the same time.

He, however, emphasized that the less restrictive quarantine classification would not mean abandoning health protocols but simply streamlining regulations to bring back jobs and revive the economy battered by the pandemic.

The DILG said works on streamlining regulations for domestic travel are ongoing to encourage tourism and revive the sector, as well as the country’s economy in general.

DILG orders PNP to arrest sellers of fake COVID-19 vaccines

Robie de Guzman   •   February 18, 2021

MANILA, Philippines – The Department of the Interior and Local Government (DILG) on Thursday ordered the Philippine National Police (PNP) to arrest individuals who are selling or administering fake vaccines against novel coronavirus disease (COVID-19).

The DILG issued the warning following reports that fake COVID-19 vaccines are being circulated in the market amid an increase in demand and preparations for the rollout of the vaccination program in the country.

DILG officer-in-charge and Undersecretary Bernardo Florece Jr. said the PNP and the local government units must be on top of the hunt and arrest peddlers of bogus vaccines.

“Some people are taking advantage of the pandemic to make money by selling fake vaccines. I am directing the PNP to arrest these criminals and ensure that these bogus vaccines are taken off the market,” Florece said in a statement.

Pasig City Mayor Vico Sotto earlier expressed alarm over the supposed sale of fake vaccines.

In his Twitter account, Sotto posted a photo of the alleged bogus Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 vaccines with a warning to the public not to purchase them.

Florece said the PNP should work double time to ensure that no fake vaccines are sold to the public as part of its task to secure COVID-19 vaccines.

He also directed the PNP Aviation Security Group and Maritime Group to enhance their monitoring of the country’s air and sea ports to prevent the entry of these items.

“Nauna na nating ipinaalala ang pagtutulungan ng PNP at mga LGU sa pag-secure ng mga bakuna but the two must also collaborate to ensure that fake vaccines are confiscated and those responsible arrested and charged,” he said.

Florece also urged the public not to buy these vaccines and immediately report these sellers to authorities.

“Huwag po kayong magpapaloko. Tanging sa pamahalaan lamang po dadaan ang mga lehitimong bakuna at maliban dito ay ireport ninyo po ang mga nagbebenta at nagtuturok ng mga pekeng COVID-19 vaccines,” he said.


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