DILG warns local officials vs using vaccination for early campaign, urges public to report

Published March 31, 2021, 12:38 PM

by Chito Chavez

The Department of the Interior and Local Government (DILG) reminded local officials not to use the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) vaccine to woo voters and make political grandstanding.

(Photo by WIN MCNAMEE / GETTY IMAGES NORTH AMERICA / Getty Images via AFP / FILE PHOTO)

At the same time, DILG Undersecretary Epimaco Densing III called on the public to immediately report to them any local officials who are using the government’s free vaccination program for their political interest.

This, as Densing admitted that the department has no control over the unavoidable actions of shameless politicians but cited that the important thing is that government subsidy goes to the rightful beneficiaries.

“Just the same, i-report pa rin nila sa amin kasi meron na kaming decision mula sa Ombudsman na ang umepal na mayor ay nasuspinde (Just the same, please (the public) report to us (DILG) such incidents,’’ Densing said.

The Department of Budget and Management (DBM) announced on March 30 that poor individuals in the NCR (National Capital Region)-plus covering the area of Metro Manila, Bulacan, Cavite, Laguna and Rizal placed under the enhanced community quarantine (ECQ) will in the first week of April receive either P1,000 cash aid or goods worth the same amount depending on the decision of their localities.

Individuals belonging to the ‘poorest among the poor’’ sector appealed to the DILG and the local government units (LGUs) to remove the unqualified recipients from the latest list of beneficiaries in the NCR-plus.

“Ang mga taga barangay (officials) ang naglilista ng pangalan ng kanilang kaalyado kahit hindi naman kwalipikado. Dapat mabusisi ito ng DILG at managot ang mga tiwaling opisyal (persons from the barangay are listing the names of their allies in the list of recipients even if they are unqualified. The DILG should look into this as rogue officials should be made answerable),’’ a street vendor said.

Quezon City resident Josephine Galsim who works for a bail bond private firm admitted to be anxiously waiting for the fate of the 89 barangay captains and their cohorts allegedly involved in social amelioration program (SAP) related anomalies.

“Sa pagkakaalam ko ang suspension ng mga 89 na kapitan na pinataw ng Ombudsman ay matatapos ng Marso o April ng taong ito. Inamin ko naman na isa ako sa nagreklamo laban sa barangay office personnel na nakakuha ng SAP (As far as I know the six-month suspension imposed by the Office of the Ombudsman on the 89 barangay captains would lapse either in March or April this year. I admit that I was one of the complainants against a barangay personnel who got SAP aid.’’ Galsim said.

Galsim claimed to have confronted the barangay officials and the office personnel whom she accused of illegally receiving the SAP cash aid herself.

In September 2020, the Office of the Ombudsman suspended 89 punong barangays (PBs) or barangay captains for six-months after the DILG filed complaints against them for their alleged involvement in the irregularities related to the implementation of the first tranche of the SAP.

The Office of the Ombudsman in its September 2, 2020 order said that “the evidence on record shows that the guilt of these punong barangays is strong and the charges against them involve serious dishonesty, grave misconduct, abuse of authority and conduct prejudicial to the best interest of the service which may warrant removal from the service.”

It maintained that the continued stay of these punong barangays in office may prejudice the case filed against them, “[so] placing them under preventive suspension for a period of six months pursuant to Republic Act No. 6770 is proper under the premises.”

 
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