Quezon City gov’t probes local execs involved in SAP distribution anomaly

Robie de Guzman   •   May 11, 2020   •   464

MANILA, Philippines – The government of Quezon City said it has launched an investigation against certain barangay officials over their involvement in the alleged irregularities in the distribution of cash assistance under the national government’s Social Amelioration Program (SAP).

In a statement issued Sunday, the city government said that Mayor Joy Belmonte ordered the probe after receiving numerous complaints against barangay officials regarding SAP payout.

“Pursuant to the directive of Mayor Joy Belmonte, the Quezon City Government has commenced a full-blown investigation against certain barangay officials and employees who have allegedly abused their power or neglected their duties in the implementation of the DSWD Social Amelioration Program or SAP,” it said.

The complaints, according to the city government, range from the illegal replication of SAP forms, the deprivation of SAP forms to qualified beneficiaries in favor of preferred but unqualified recipients or relatives, the illegal deduction of “processing fees,” “donations,” and “membership dues” from cash aid, and the redistribution of cash aid to several beneficiaries after the scheduled payout.

The city government said its legal department will issue show-cause orders against the concerned barangay officials and employees.

If found liable, these barangay officials may face charges for violation of Republic Act 3019 or the Anti-Graft and Corrupt Practices Act, Falsification, Fraud Against the Public Treasury, Malversation and Robbery, and administrative cases.

The Department of the Interior and Local Government (DILG) earlier ordered the Philippine National Police to investigate and arrest local officials who are allegedly pocketing cash assistance intended for low-income households heavily affected by the community quarantine enforced to curb the spread of novel coronavirus disease (COVID-19).

Duterte to announce new quarantine status; not sure of MGCQ for Metro Manila

Marje Pelayo   •   July 15, 2020

MANILA, Philippines — President Rodrigo Duterte is set to meet with members of the Inter-Agency Task Force against COVID-19 on Wednesday evening (July 15) to discuss the next steps with regard to the implementation of community quarantine in different parts of the country. 

He is expected to decide on the new quarantine status that will take effect on Thursday, July 16. 

According to Malacañang, there was no mention in the previous IATF meeting about easing quarantine restrictions in Metro Manila.

Specifically, there was no discussion about the shifting from general community quarantine (GCQ) to modified general community quarantine (MGCQ) in the National Capital Region considering the increase in the number of coronavirus disease (COVID-19) cases and the full utilization of the region’s critical care capacity. 

“Hindi ko po alam dahil sa huling meeting ng IATF talagang hindi po na-discuss ang MGCQ for Metro Manila (I have no idea because in the previous IATF meeting there was no discussion about MGCQ for Metro Manila),” noted Presidential Spokesperson Secretary Harry Roque. 

The Philippines has entered the fourth month since the government imposed community quarantine orders due to the outbreak of COVID-19. 

Roque assured, meanwhile, that the NCR’s hospitals have enough beds for COVID-19 patients despite the announcement of Health Undersecretary Leopoldo Vega that the region’s intensive care system has now reached the danger zone. 

“Ang pakiusap lang natin sa mga pasyente, makinig lang po tayo kung saan tayo dapat pumunta at huwag na tayong mag-insist (We only ask that patients listed [to authorities] where they are supposed to go and not insist [on what they want]),” Roque stressed.

“Huwag na tayong mag-worry kung puno ang isang ospital, ire-refer naman po kayo sa iba pang ospital, (Do not worry if the hospital is full because you will be accommodated in other hospitals),” he added. MNP (with details from Rosalie Coz)

DND main office in Camp Aguinaldo on 3-day lockdown

Marje Pelayo   •   July 15, 2020

MANILA, Philippines – The main office of the Department of National Defense (DND) in Camp Aguinaldo has been placed under lockdown after one of its personnel contracted coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19).

In an advisory, the agency said the office premises will undergo disinfection on the duration of the lockdown. 

The agency will reopen on Friday (July 17).

Defense Secretary Delfin Lorenzana himself earlier announced that one of the staff was tested positive for COVID-19, which prompted the official to volunteer for self-quarantine.

Based on the result of his COVID-19 released today, Lorenzana said he is negative of the disease. MNP (with details from Lea Ylagan)

Drive-thru COVID-19 testing center opens in Manila

Robie de Guzman   •   July 15, 2020

The Manila City government on Wednesday opened its own drive-thru novel coronavirus disease (COVID-19) testing center in a bid to boost its mass testing capacity amid rising cases of infection.

Manila Mayor Francisco “Isko Moreno” Domagoso said the testing center is open to all residents and non-residents who wish to avail of the service free of charge.

The facility is open from Monday to Friday, from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m.

Domagoso said they only need to bring a government-issued ID to get tested in the drive-thru testing facility located in front of the Andres Bonifacio Monument along P. Burgos Street.

Blood samples collected from those who were tested will then be processed by the city government’s newly-purchased serology testing machines which have a combined capacity of 89,600 tests per month.

These machines also have an accuracy rate of 99.6 percent.

However, those who will yield positive results will still have to undergo confirmatory swab testing. – RRD (details from Correspondent Vincent Arboleda)

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