San Jose del Monte, Bulacan gov’t says waiver only for documentation purposes

Published April 16, 2021, 12:55 PM

by Joseph Pedrajas

The local government of San Jose del Monte, Bulacan on Friday explained that the waiver being required to be signed by residents getting the enhanced community quarantine (ECQ) cash assistance will only serve as documentation that the beneficiaries have already received their cash aid from the national government.

(Photo via Joseph Pedrajas/MANILA BULLETIN)

In a statement, the local government also said the waiver only represents an individual beneficiary, who attests that he or she has no complaints regarding the distribution of the money, and not an entire household of beneficiaries.

“Ang Waiver at [sic] isang dokumentong nilalayong ipahayag ang pagkaunawang sa pagtanggap ng (benepisyaryo ng) ayuda, ay nabigyan siya ng sapat na tulong ng pamahalaan ayon sa Joint Memorandum Circular (“JMC”) No. 1, s. 2021 (The waiver is only a document which aims to prove that the beneficiary has received his aid, and that he understands that he is given enough assistance from the government based on JMC No. 1, s. 2021),” the press statement sent by city public information office chief Ronald Soriano to Manila Bulletin read.

The memorandum is an agreement signed by various national government agencies which was sent to heads of various local government units pertaining to the “guidelines on the allocation, utilization, and monitoring of, and accountabilty for, the special health fund.”

“Ang pamamahagi ng waiver kaalinsabay ng pagtanggap ng ayuda ay parte lamang ng pagnanais na tiyaking nauunawaan ang mga tuntunin ng JMC na nagsasabing ang ayuda ay pang-indibidwal, at naaayon sa ‘order of priority’ na itinatadhana nito (The distribution of the waiver that comes with the distribution of the cash money is only part of our move to ensure that a beneficiary understands the guidelines of the JMC, which said that the aid is only for an individual, depending on his ‘order of priority,” it added.

The local government also said the waiver will serve as “supporting document for the liquidation of the Commission on Audit regarding the money distributed.”

“Walang layong ipanikil ng karapatang pantao ang nasabing waiver (The waiver does not intend to take advantage of the people’s rights),” the statement added, noting that beneficiaries who have complaints “are free” to report based on the “grievance provision” of the memorandum.

The local government has not yet responded to questions regarding the need for waiver, instead of an acknowledgement receipt, that has also created confusion among ECQ assistance beneficiaries.

The local government’s statement came after several residents, including one from Barangay Sta. Cruz 1 interviewed by Manila Bulletin, complained about being required by the supposed city hall personnel to sign a waiver to attest that they have no complaints regarding the cash money they received.

It was alleged that only P1,000 cash money was given to beneficiaries who were supposedly qualified to receive more.

“Sa aking pagtanggap, aking kinikilalang nasapatan ang aking karapatan at wala na akong habol, reklamo o hinaing pa ukol dito laban sa anumang ahensya ng gubyerno o opisyal ng pamahalaan ukol sa pamimigay ng NCR Plus Ayuda (As I receive the cash assistance, I recognize that my rights are met and I can no longer run after or file complaints against any government agency or any government personnel regarding the distribution of the money),” part of the three-paragraph waiver read.

The waiver would also be notarized due to details indicated on its footnote, including the name of a supposed lawyer.

“Subscribed and sworn, this, affiant exhibited his ID: which is deemed as sufficient proof of his identity,” the waiver stated.

Department of Interior and Local Government Undersecretary Jonathan Malaya in a Laging Handa briefing Friday said they are already investigating the incident.

He clarified that upon review of the national government’s memorandum and of the executive order signed by city Mayor Arthur Robes regarding the ECQ assistance distribution, there was no need for a waiver to be signed by the beneficiaries.

“Inaantay namin ang paliwanag ng San Jose del Monte kung, if true, bakit sila nag-require ng waiver… Ang hinihingi namin… is the legal basis for requiring the waiver (We’re still waiting for the explanation of the San Jose del Monte government why they required a waiver. We’re asking for their legal basis for requiring the waiver),” Malaya said.

Read more: Bulacan residents required to sign waiver for P1,000 ECQ ‘ayuda’