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

Robie de Guzman   •   May 28, 2020   •   429

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.

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.


LGUs await EO on payment for COVID-19 vaccines

Marje Pelayo   •   February 11, 2021

MANILA, Philippines — Local government units (LGUs) are all set to pay for the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) vaccines once the delivery arrives.

Most LGUs in Metro Manila and in other regions have entered into a tripartite agreement with Astrazeneca for the vaccine supply.

According to San Juan Mayor Francis Zamora, the contract requires LGUs to pay 20% of the total amount as down payment.

However, only 15% down payment is allowed under the Philippine procurement law.

“May pera naman ang LGUs. May pera ang national government. Ang tanong na lang: Ano ba ang tamang prosesong papagdaanan upang hindi naman din kami makasuhan bilang mga mayor?” Zamora said.

For his part, Metro Manila Development Authority (MMDA) Chairman Benhur Abalos Jr. assured that Malacanang will issue an executive order regarding the payment for the vaccines.

He said local chief executives have nothing to worry about because President Rodrigo Duterte has the authority to allow any payment higher than the 15% down payment without violating the procurement law.

“Dahil may kalamidad po tayo itong pandemic, pwede namang taasan ng Presidente ito dahil tumutulong na lang ang mga Alkalde at Tripartite naman ito,” Abalos said.

“Bago mag-advance payment para hindi naman mapahamak ang ating mga mayor ay gagawa ng Executive Order. Nakausap ko na si Executive Secretary noong isang araw nakita ko na yung draft at ilalabas na ito. Nothing to worry about dito,” he assured.

Meanwhile, House Speaker Allan Velasco recently filed House Bill 8648 or the Emergency Vaccine Procurement Act of 2021.

The proposed measure will allow LGUs to directly procure vaccines from pharmaceutical companies.

Once enacted into law, the bidding process for the procurement of vaccines will be shortened. MNP (with reports from Rey Pelayo)

DILG tells PNP to secure COVID-19 vaccines, immunization teams

Robie de Guzman   •   February 10, 2021

MANILA, Philippines – The Department of the Interior and Local Government (DILG) on Wednesday ordered the Philippine National Police (PNP) to secure all COVID-19 vaccines and protect the teams that will be administering them to avoid possible delays and disruption.

In a statement, the DILG directed the PNP to work closely with local government units in making sure that the vaccines will reach the intended recipients, especially in the far-flung areas in the country.

“Ang mga bakuna na ‘yan ay parang ginto lalo na ngayong kulang pa ang supply kaya pinaghahanda natin ang PNP sa anumang insidente,” DILG officer-in-charge Undersecretary Bernardo Florece, Jr. said.

“Pagdating sa airport hanggang sa maiturok ang mga ito, kasama na ang ating kapulisan,” he added.

The DILG said the move is in compliance with President Rodrigo Duterte’s order for police and soldiers to help maintain order and security, as well as augment forces particularly in remote sitios and barrios, during the vaccination campaign.

According to the government’s National Deployment and Vaccination Plan, barangay officials and safety officers will also be tapped to aid in the vaccination campaign.

“Tulad nang lagi nating paalala, we need all the help that we can get sa pandemyang ito lalo na sa nalalapit na pagbabakuna sa ating bansa kaya ang ating PNP, kasama ang mga pinuno ng barangay at mga tanod, ay inaasahan nating makikipagtulungan at makikiisa,” Florece said.

Duterte earlier asked the Communist Party of the Philippines (CPP) to allow the free and safe passage of the COVID-19 vaccines particularly in areas where they have a degree of influence.

The CPP agreed to the president’s request but urged the government not to use military vehicles in transporting the vaccines.

The communist group earlier said that vehicles transporting the vaccines must be clearly marked with a red cross over a white back ground to avoid being mistaken as a military vehicle.

DILG Undersecretary Jonathan Malaya slammed the CPP for laying conditions for them not to hamper the delivery of COVID-19 vaccines to all parts of the country.

Malaya said that during this time of pandemic, the communist rebels must place the country first before their selfish ideological interests and should not impose any conditions for the benefit of the people.

“Can’t the CPP/NPA/NDF declare a cessation of hostilities for a change if only to allow the delivery of the vaccines? In all countries of the world, the military are mobilized to assist in the vaccination program. In the US, the National Guard has been mobilized to ensure the fast delivery of their vaccines,” he said.

Malaya said that by setting conditions, the CPP is actually threatening the delivery of the vaccines in conflict-affected areas.

“What happens when we utilize a military vehicle to transport the vaccine in mountainous areas, are they going to shoot our soldiers on a humanitarian mission?” he said, adding that “6 x 6 military trucks are the only vehicles that can reach these areas.”

“What happens when civilian vehicles do not have a red cross over a white background?” he said.

Malaya said that the PNP will be on high alert considering the conditions imposed by the communist rebels.

The national government is eyeing to start its COVID-19 vaccination program on February 15 when the initial batch of 117,000 doses of COVID-19 vaccines from Pfizer-BioNTech under the COVAX facility arrive in the country.

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