Local government officials should not steal the financial aid intended for poor beneficiaries staying in enhanced community quarantine (ECQ) areas or else risk ending up in jail.
Malacañang has relayed President Duterte’s warning to local officials against committing anomalies in the implementation of the P22.9-billion supplemental amelioration program.
Under the new program, the national government set aside a budget of P1,000 for each of 22.9 million low-income persons staying in areas under ECQ, namely Metro Manila, Bulacan, Cavite, Laguna, and Rizal. The funds will be released to the local government units, which will be given elbow room to decide if the aid will be given in cash or in-kind.
“Kung kayo mga opisyales ng barangay ipakukulong kayo ni Presidente pag pati ba naman ang ayuda ay pagsasamantalahan ninyo (If you are barangay officials, the President will send you to prison if you take advantage of the assistance for the people),” Roque said during a televised press briefing, Tuesday, March 30.
Roque reminded local officials to learn from the mistakes of other public servants who were slapped with complaints alleged involvement in anomalies during the implementation of the previous subsidy program.
The implementation of the first round of emergency subsidy program during the first lockdown last year has been marred with delays in distribution as well as other irregularities. Dozens of barangay officials implicated in the anomalies in the aid distribution were suspended last year.
“Napakadami na pong nadisiplina diyan (Many have been disciplined),” Roque said.
“Ang mensahe ng Presidente : Huwag na huwag ninyo gagalawin ang ayuda sa panahon ng lockdown at pandemya (The President’s message is do not ever touch the assistance in this time of lockdown and pandemic),” he added.
The Palace earlier made it clear that the assistance to be given to the ECQ beneficiaries will be either in cash or in-kind based on the decision of the concerned LGUs.
The Department of Interior and Local Government has promised to ensure the aid distribution this time would be free of corruption.