MANILA - Local officials who do not provide aid to their constituents during the month-long Luzon lockdown must be replaced, Sen. Richard Gordon said Thursday.
Gordon, who also serves as chairman of the Philippine Red Cross, urged the public to report the inaction of officials to the organization at its hotline 1158 or to the Department of the Interior and Local Government.
"The local governments are the closest, if they don’t do their job, show the government. The government might show there will be a swift resort to enforcing the law. You became mayor, you became barangay captain meron kang command responsibility. You don’t do your duty, you’re out of the parade," he told ANC.
Government had allocated P275 billion to provide aid to poor families affected by the lockdown.
"The first tranche is given to barangay captains. If they’re lazy, if they don’t do their jobs, if they do politicking, the system will have cracks," he said.
"The local government has got to step in and make examples of people who are not doing their jobs. They should not threaten, just charge them right away and replace them with who’ll do the job...All of us has got to push the envelope. Importante 'yung magko-complain."
Some residents have complained that they have yet to receive aid from their local officials even as Luzon, home to about half of the country's 100 million people, was now on its third week of the lockdown, set to end on April 12.
President Rodrigo Duterte said he would not hesitate to order authorities to shoot troublemakers dead. The Philippine National Police said it would not implement the order.
Gordon, however, said the president was "just exaggerating as usual."
"You have to look at what he really means. There’s no room for violence right now. There’s got to be civility, social cohesion. It’s hard to feed the entire country, especially the poor. It behooves everybody to be more efficient."