QC gov’t probes PWD ID card scam

Marje Pelayo   •   June 25, 2020   •   308

MANILA, Philippines — The Quezon City government said it will be suspending the processing of Persons with Disability (PWD) identification cards  from Thursday (June 25) to Friday (June 26) to craft new guidelines that will eliminate abuse.

“We will use the two days to come up with the needed safeguards to ensure that only those deserving get the PWD cards,” said Mayor Joy Belmonte.

“Our protocols will be revisited and needed controls will be placed so the system will not be abused by greedy and opportunistic individuals,” she added.

Mayor Belmonte added that the decision was made following reports of PWD ID cards being issued to unqualified individuals specifically members of a well-off family. 

Belmonte ordered an investigation into claims that six immediate members of a well-off family managed to acquire PWD ID cards in 2018 without submitting any of the mandatory requirements.

Reports said the involved parties paid P2,000 each for the said cards.

Belmonte revealed that the culprit behind the scam has already been identified and will be given a show-cause order.

He is given 72 hours to explain why he shouldn’t be held administratively and criminally liable, according to City Attorney Nino Casimiro.

If proven guilty, the said employee will face a grave misconduct case, which merits a penalty of dismissal from service.

QC gov’t seeks complete info from DOH for contact tracing

Aileen Cerrudo   •   August 7, 2020

The Quezon City local government has appealed to the Department of Health (DOH) to ensure complete information of all coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) positive individuals to hasten its contact tracing efforts.

QC Mayor Joy Belmonte said the agency’s failure to provide complete information in some cases delays contact tracing by days.

Due to this, she said frontliners are forced to spend valuable time looking for the needed information from other possible sources including social media.

“The lack of available information from the outset, specifically addresses and contact numbers, amounting to half of all cases reported, delays contact tracing by days,” she said.

Belmote said 573 or 47% out of the 1,224 COVID-19 cases from Aug. 1 to 2 have no addresses or contact numbers, forcing the City Epidemiology and
Surveillance Unit (CESU) to label them as ‘unknown’.

“With that, we appeal to your good office as Secretary of Health to set the vision and direction in improving data quality for rapid contact tracing,” she added. -AAC

QC releases guidelines to speed up contact tracing in large companies

Aileen Cerrudo   •   July 31, 2020

The Quezon City Government has released the guidelines it has drafted to expedite contact tracing of the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) in large companies.

QC Mayor Joy Belmonte said this is to further contain the virus and minimize the employee risk of infection and economic effects of COVID-19.

Based on the guidelines, an individual is considered a close contact if he or she had face-to-face contact with a confirmed COVID-19 case within one-meter distance, for more than 15 minutes and within a 14 day period from the confirmed case’s onset of symptoms.

Those in close contact with a confirmed COVID-19 case should undergo a 14-day quarantine and should undertake the swab testing if he or she is exhibiting COVID-19 symptoms.

“In either case, close contacts should not be allowed to report for work immediately upon identification as such, and should be required to self-isolate at home,” Belmonte said.

Companies are also mandated to require their employees to list down all usual close contacts, both inside and outside work, even prior to any confirmed or suspect COVID-19 case.

“Companies are also mandated to provide the City Epidemiological Surveillance Unit (CESU), through qcsurveillance@quezoncity.gov.ph, with updates regarding confirmed cases and close contacts among the workforce,” the guidelines also stated. AAC

QC gov’t warns officials of condos, subdivisions hampering moves vs COVID-19

Robie de Guzman   •   July 27, 2020

The Quezon City government has warned officials of private subdivisions and condominiums in the city who will hamper measures to contain the spread of novel coronavirus disease (COVID-19).

In a statement, Quezon City Mayor Joy Belmonte said imprisonment and hefty fine will be imposed on subdivision and condominium officials who will refuse to cooperate in the local government’s contact tracing efforts.

Belmonte issued the warning after officials of a condominium building in Barangay Sto. Cristo and a subdivision in Barangay Matandang Balara prevented the entry of contact tracers into their premises despite intervention from the barangay officers.

“Hindi tayo magdadalawang-isip na kasuhan ang mga opisyal ng subdivision at condominium na hindi makikipagtulungan sa ating mga pagkilos laban sa virus,” Belmonte said in a statement.

“Nakakalungkot ang nangyaring ito dahil dapat ay nagkakaisa tayo sa paglaban kontra sa COVID-19, na kung hindi agarang maagapan ay maaring humantong sa lalong pagkalat ng virus sa mga natukoy na lugar,” she added.

The city government said it will file charges against officials of the said condominium and subdivision for violation of Republic Act No. 11332 or the Mandatory Reporting of Notifiable Diseases and Health Events of Public Health Concern Act.

“The city is also mulling to file other charges against them for their non-cooperation and for preventing our health personnel from doing their duty,” Assistant City Administrator for Operations Alberto Kimpo said in the same statement.

The violation carries a penalty of ₱20,000 but not more than ₱50,000 in fines, or imprisonment of not less than one month but not more than six months.

“If other homeowners and condominium associations remain uncooperative, we have no other option but to hale them to court as well,” Belmonte stressed.

“Pero huwag na sanang umabot pa sa korte ang usapan. Nananawagan ako sa homeowners and condominium associations na makiisa sa ating kampanya laban sa COVID-19 alang-alang sa kaligtasan ng lahat,” she added.

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