PNP free ride serves over 13K commuters in NCR Plus

Robie de Guzman   •   April 6, 2021   •   196

MANILA, Philippines – The Philippine National Police’s (PNP) ‘Libreng Sakay’ program has so far transported a total of 13,378 passengers since Metro Manila and four nearby provinces were placed under enhanced community quarantine (ECQ) last week, police chief General Debold Sinas said Tuesday.

In a statement, Sinas said PNP’s heavy-lift transport vehicles comprising two buses, five utility trucks, and two coasters alternately make regular roundtrips to and from designated pick-up and drop-off points within the city.

Sinas said passengers in the ‘Libreng Sakay’ were also provided with face masks, bottled water, and useful information materials as supplies allow.

“This is the PNP’s way of reaching out to citizens by providing mobility and other extended services to authorized persons (APOR) so that they could attend to their work with convenience even while the ECQ is in effect,” Sinas said.

The PNP Libreng-Sakay vehicles ply seven regular routes from EDSA-Crame to Meycauayan, Bulacan and San Jose del Monte City in the North; Zapote, Bacoor, Cavite in the South; and Rodriguez, Rizal, Antipolo City and Taytay, Rizal in the East.

Sinas said PNP Libreng-Sakay is further complemented by 1,317 PNP mobile assets of the National Capital Region Police Office which has so far logged 2,743 sorties ferrying 11,558 passengers from March 29-April 4, 2021.

The PNP chief assured that its program observes the 50 percent seating capacity policy imposed by the Department of Transportation for public transport.

Deadline for NCR Plus ECQ aid distribution extended to May 15 — Palace

Robie de Guzman   •   April 20, 2021

MANILA, Philippines — The deadline for the distribution of assistance for NCR Plus residents heavily affected by the enforcement of enhanced community quarantine (ECQ) has been extended, Malacañang announced Tuesday.

“Inextend ang deadline na makumpleto ang pamamahagi ng financial assistance hanggang sa a-kinse ng Mayo,” Presidential Spokesperson Harry Roque said during an online briefing.

Roque said the extension was approved in light of the novel coronavirus disease (COVID-19) pandemic situation, in which mass gatherings are limited as part of health protocols to curb the virus transmission.

“Ito ay dahil sa sumusunod: tayo ay nasa panahon ng COVID-19, bawal ang malakihang pagtitipon, kailangan pangalagaan ang kaligtasan at kalusugan ng lahat,” he said.

“Pangalawa, inaayos ang paraan at ginagawang flexible ang pamamahagi kung ito ay automated o bahay-bahay,” he added.

Roque also said the move is in response to the request of local government units (LGU) to extend the deadline for aid distribution.

The Department of the Interior and Local Government earlier ordered LGUs to complete within 15 days the distribution of assistance to family beneficiaries in Metro Manila, Cavite, Bulacan, Rizal, and Laguna – tagged as NCR Plus.

The NCR Plus was placed under ECQ from March 29 to April 11.

The national government allocated nearly P23 billion for the program that will benefit 22.9 million people.

The government earlier acknowledged the slow distribution of the assistance and asked the public for patience as it works on giving aid amid tightened community restrictions.

PNP should not interfere with community pantry, DILG’s Año says

Robie de Guzman   •   April 20, 2021

 

Community pantry

MANILA, Philippines – Department of the Interior and Local Government (DILG) Secretary Eduardo Año on Tuesday said that police and local government executives should not interfere with community pantries and other similar initiatives organized by private groups.

Año issued the statement following reports that some of the community pantry organizers were being red-tagged and profiled by alleged government authorities.

The DILG chief said police and local government interference should only be limited to ensuring that health protocols are being implemented.

“Since this is a purely voluntary and private initiative, we should not interfere except to ensure that minimum health standards are complied with,” Año said.

“Hence, organizers must adhere to existing laws and local ordinances especially those issued to prevent the spread of Covid-19,” he added.

Año also clarified that he did not order the Philippine National Police (PNP) to look into the community pantries around the country.

“The community pantry has been a traditional practice in our country as part of Bayanihan culture and spirit specially in the times of calamities and disasters,” he said.

“In the spirit of Bayanihan, many Filipinos have been doing selfless acts of kindness since last year.

As long as the intention is good and without political color, it should be encouraged and supported,” he added.

As to the issue of whether organizers are required to secure barangay permits, the DILG chief said that organizers should “consult with the concerned barangays if such is required.”

“The PNP and/or local officials may just come in if there is any violation of law, if there are complaints from the community, or if the organizers seek their help,” he said.

“The LGUs, barangays and the PNP are ready to provide utmost assistance to ensure orderly distribution to the public,” he added.

Sinas: No profiling, red tagging of community pantry organizers

Robie de Guzman   •   April 20, 2021

MANILA, Philippines – The Philippine National Police (PNP) on Tuesday denied claims that it is profiling the organizers of community pantries that have popped up in various areas amid the coronavirus pandemic.

“There is no order from the National Headquarters to conduct any form of profiling of organizers of community pantries,” PNP chief Debold Sinas said in a statement.

“It is beyond the interest of the PNP to delve into purely voluntary personal activities of private citizens” he added.

Sinas issued the statement following reports that some of the organizers were being red-tagged and profiled by alleged government authorities.

Anna Patricia Non, the person behind the Maginhawa community pantry, earlier announced they would temporarily suspend their operation due to alleged red-tagging.

“We are aware of the activities of these community pantries as an expression of Bayanihan spirit, but we have no intention to interfere but to serve the best interest of law and order and public safety in such public activities,” Sinas said.

“Of particular consideration is the observance of public health standards when there is gathering of ten or more persons that builds-up a crowd,” he added.

The PNP chief noted that this is not the first time that similar activities were initiated amid the pandemic, saying that some farmers’ organizations and local government units have also hauled their produce of fruits and vegetables to help depressed communities in Metro Manila last year.

“Similarly, police did not interfere with these activities rather extended utmost assistance to ensure orderly distribution to the needy,” Sinas said.

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