No ‘epal’, alcohol, cigarettes in DILG guidelines on community pantries

Marje Pelayo   •   April 29, 2021   •   309

MANILA, Philippines – The Department of the Interiors and Local Government (DILG) announced the official guidelines for the conduct of community pantries in compliance with the directive of President Rodrigo Duterte.

“Ayon po sa inyong pag-uutos, gumawa po kami ng guidelines kung paano po ipapatupad itong community pantry sapagkat itong community pantry ay isa sa pwedeng maging dahilan sa pagsimula ng surge o ng spike,” DILG Secretary Eduardo Año told the president during Wednesday’s public briefing.

During his report, Año enumerated the salient points in conducting a community pantry.

Firstly, organizers need not secure a permit prior to setting up a community pantry as this will only be an additional burden to them.

“Kailangan ang masusing koordinasyon sa lahat ng LGU, sapagkat kailangan compliant sa batas at ordinansa ang lahat ng organizers,” Año said.

Secondly, illegal items such as alcoholic beverages and cigarettes are not allowed in community pantries.

“Walang illegal na bagay at harmful items, kasama ang alcohol at cigarettes na ipapamahagi rito sa community pantry,” the official noted.

Thirdly, minimum health standards must be observed at all times. Violation of the standard health protocols are considered as strong grounds for the termination of the community pantry as this can cause a surge or spike in COVID-19 cases.

Fourthly, organizers and the LGU are not allowed to collect any fee whatsoever for any item in the pantry.

Año specified the important role that the LGU takes during the conduct of a community pantry.

He said, it is the LGU that would determine the venue of the community pantry to ensure it is set up in areas where most indigents reside.

The LGU will also be the one to link the organizers to potential suppliers of goods in support of local producers and at the same time contribute to the LGU’s economy.

One important task for the LGU is maintaining peace and order throughout the conduct of the community pantry because organizers might not be able to handle the possible surge of people.

Members of the Philippine National Police (PNP), the barangay tanod and other officials as well as volunteers must be tapped for crowd control.

Fifthly, Año said organizers must establish a system for reaching members of the vulnerable sector, specifically the senior citizens and persons with comorbidity who are not allowed to go outdoors.

“Ang gusto po natin dito ay talagang localized ito na kung saang barangay gagawin ay doon lang magbabandilyo,” he said.

“Hindi na kailangang may mga taong dadagsa galing sa ibang lugar. Kaya kailanhgan ay umiikot itong ating community pantry,” he added, citing the incident in Barangay Holy Spirit where actress Angel Locsin announced her community pantry on social media and consequently drawing even people from other barangays to flock to the venue breaching health protocols.

Lastly, “epals” are not allowed. This means no signage, billboard, or poster bearing the name and picture of the organizer, any politician or government officials shall be posted in community pantries.

The DILG secretary said they will send an advisory or a memorandum to the LGUs regarding the guidelines.

SAP beneficiaries have until May 15 to claim 2021 ‘ayuda’ – DILG

Marje Pelayo   •   May 14, 2021

MANILA, Philippines – The Department of the Interior and Local Government (DILG) on Friday (May 14) reminded beneficiaries of the social amelioration program (SAP) in the NCR Plus area that they have until Saturday (May 15) to claim their 2021 ayuda (aid) from their respective local government units (LGUs).

According to DILG Undersecretary Jonathan Malaya, the deadline is provided in the Joint Memorandum Circular set by the DILG, the Department of Social Welfare and Development (DSWD) and the (Department of National Defense (DND).

The 2021 ayuda is a P22.9-billion financial assistance package ordered by President Rodrigo Duterte for distribution to low-income individuals in areas affected by the enhanced community quarantine (ECQ) known as NCR Plus ( Metro Manila, Cavite, Laguna, Bulacan and Rizal).

The cash assistance consists of P1,000 per individual with a maximum of P4,000 per family.

Malaya said some beneficiaries have yet to claim their ayuda despite repeated calls from the LGUs.

The official said, after the May 15 deadline, the LGUs are required to prepare a new payroll of beneficiaries affected by the ECQ in their respective communities utilizing the unclaimed funds.

“Some of the beneficiaries may have gone home to the provinces or may have moved outside of NCR+ for whatever reason, but just the same they have until tomorrow to claim their ayuda, otherwise they would be deemed to have waived their emergency subsidy,” Malaya said.

“The LGUs may use the unclaimed funds to prepare a supplemental list of other beneficiaries affected by the ECQ and distribute the same within 10 days,” he added citing JMC 1A issued by Secretary Eduardo Año, Secretary Rolando Bautista and Secretary Delfin Lorenzana.

As of Thursday (May 13), 90% of the P22.9 billion ayuda have been distributed to beneficiaries in the NCR Plus area amounting to P20.5 billion consisting of some 22,915,422 individual beneficiaries.

Among the areas that have completed their aid distribution are: Baliwag, Guiguinto, Pandi, Paombong, Plaridel, and San Rafeal in Bulacan, Tagaytay, Amadeo, Mendez, Naic, and Noveleta in Cavite, and Biñan, Cabuyao, San Pedro, Santa Rosa, Alaminos, Calauan, Famy, Magdalena, Nagcarlan, Paete, Pagsanjan, Pakil, Pila, Rizal, Santa Cruz, and Siniloan in Laguna.

Duterte tells local execs to strictly enforce quarantine protocols, forego fiesta celebrations

Robie de Guzman   •   May 14, 2021

MANILA, Philippines – President Rodrigo Duterte on Thursday night directed local government officials to strictly implement community quarantine protocols and to prohibit fiesta celebrations in their localities amid the continuing threat of novel coronavirus disease (COVID-19).

During a pre-taped public address late Thursday, Duterte warned local executives that they would be held accountable if they fail to enforce COVID-19 protocols.

 “Ang hinihingi ko is that you only not tone down but forego, kasi may batas, forego to congregrate, to crowd and to hold [fiestas],” he said.

“I will not allow the violations of the guidelines given by the task force. I will hold the local governments, down to the last barangay level, and therefore it could only be the barangay captains, I will hold you responsible for any violation itong mga batas na hindi napatutupad,” he added.

Duterte issued the directive as he approved the easing of quarantine restrictions in Metro Manila and other provinces.

Metro Manila and nearby provinces of Cavite, Bulacan, Rizal, and Laguna – called NCR Plus – have been shifted to general community quarantine (GCQ) “with heightened restrictions” from May 15 to May 31.

Other areas under GCQ during the same period are Apayao, Baguio City, Benguet, Kalinga, Mountain Province, Abra, Cagayan, Isabela, Nueva Vizcaya, Batangas, Quezon, Puerto Princesa, Iligan City, Davao City, and Lanao del Sur.

Areas placed under modified enhanced community quarantine are Santiago City, Quirino, Ifugao, and Zamboanga City. The rest of the country will remain under modified GCQ.

Duterte emphasized that enforcing health protocols in the localities must be stringent to allow the country to recover from the pandemic and to prevent virus transmission.

He also reminded the public to wear face mask, frequently wash their hands and to stay at home.

“This is really a law so you have to enforce it because if you want this country to recover form the onslaught of COVID-19, you have to be mindful of what is going on and how to prevent it,” Duterte said.

“Nakikiusap ako, there are a lot of fiestas which you would like to hold, the problem is there is also the consequence which we must be mindful of,” he added.

DILG says only 108 of 496 Gubat sa Ciudad guests traced so far

Marje Pelayo   •   May 13, 2021

MANILA, Philippines — The Department of the Interior and Local Government (DILG) has begun the contact tracing of guests who trooped to Gubat sa Ciudad resort in Caloocan City on Sunday (May 9).

“I must admit na napakahirap po talaga nitong pagko-contact trace dahil sa kapabayaan ng resort na ito,” DILG Undersecretary Jonathan Malaya said.

This is because some of the guests did not provide complete contact information.

“Doon po sa 496 na ‘yun, 232 po ang may cellphone number ngunit hindi po ma-contact ang lahat ng number na ito,” he added.

Out of the  496 guests in the resort’s logbook, only 108 have been contacted so far.

Of the said number, only 72 have undergone rapid antigen tests for possible COVID-19 infection — so far, no one has tested positive, the official said.

Among the guests initially accounted for, 180 are residents of Caloocan; 11 are from Bulacan; three are from Malabon; five from Manila; 26 from Quezon City; and seven from Valenzuela.

Malaya is calling on other resort guests to coordinate with them to be scheduled for swab testing to ensure that they are Covid-free.

“Ang ginagawa po nating contact tracing ay para din sa inyong kapakanan. Gusto lang po naming ma-contact trace kayo at ma-test ang mga may sintomas,” he said.

Malaya added that the DILG has already filed a complaint against the resort’s president, Rodolfo de Guzman Jr.;  Aleli Mansano de Guzman, the general manager; as well as against eight others who are part of the resort’s management.

They are now facing charges for violation of RA 11332 and the city ordinance 0863 series of 2021 of the City of Caloocan.

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