Recto on DSWD, DILG takeover of Manila's distribution: 'Bad for people, irrational'

Published August 11, 2021, 1:02 PM

by Vanne Elaine Terrazola

Senate President Pro Tempore Ralph Recto on Wednesday, August 11 objected to the national government’s move to take charge of the distribution of “ayuda” or cash assistance to residents of the city of Manila.

Senate President Pro Tempore Ralph Recto during a hearing on January 20, 2020 (Henzberg Austria/Senate PRIB)

In a statement, Recto pointed out that local governments have “boots on the ground and the muscle memory” to carry out large-scale distributions of aid. He said these are “complex operations which understaffed national agencies may find hard to do on their own.”

To “nationalize an activity” best done by local government units (LGUs), added, was “irrational” and might put beneficiaries at a disadvantage, as this could result in delays.

“Big cities and provinces have division size personnel. Tapos papalitan mo ng isang (And then you will replace them with a) platoon of clueless people who don’t know the terrain,” Recto said.

“Mas kabisado ng city hall people ang mga kasuluk-sulukan ng kanilang lugar, pati mga eskinita saulado, kaysa naman doon sa mga central office bureaucrats (City hall people know their places better, even the alleys, more than those central office bureaucrats),” he stressed.

“Bad for people [and] national government,” his statement read.

On Wednesday, officials from the Department of Social Welfare and Development (DSWD) and Department of Interior and Local Government (DILG) took over the distrbution of cash aid to Manila residents. The DILG said this is to ensure the orderly payouts in the city.

This, even as the both agencies already issued the guidelines for LGUs to follow in implementing the financial assistance for displaced Metro Manila residents.

In his taped public address Monday, President Duterte took a swipe at a Metro Manila mayor for a supposedly disorganized handling of cash aid distribution.

While he did not mention a name, netizens and critics believed he was referring to Manila Mayor Isko Moreno. Duterte hinted at Moreno’s previous career in show business.

Recto said the national government and LGUs should just work together in implementing assistance programs.

He said maintaining such partnership “saves the national government from embarrassment if the job it has assumed to do on its own will end up a flop.”

“The City of Manila has been delivering almost a million boxes of food to homes of their residents for some months. Hindi naman air dropped ito. May organization, may method. Tapos papalitan?” he said.

“If Manila was able to pull off these big ticket projects, then distributing aid to its own people is just another day in the office for them,” Recto added.

Metro Manila was again placed under the enhanced community quarantine (ECQ) from August 6 to August 20, in a bid to control the spread of the Delta coronavirus variant.