MANILA - The interior department said Friday it banned local officials from plastering their photos and names onto relief aid for indigent families during a Luzon-wide lockdown to contain the COVID-19 pandemic.
The agency received reports that some barangay officers had prepared envelopes with their names to put in cash aid that the national government would give, said Interior Undersecretary Jonathan Malaya.
"Hindi po ito panahon ng pamumulitika, panahon po ito ng public service," he told DZMM. "Naglabas na rin po si Secretary [Eduardo] Año ng kautusan sa ating mga LGU na walang epal, walang pangalan, walang picture at hayaan ang mga barangay na i-handle nang tama ang paglalabas ng ayuda."
(This is not the time for politics, this is the time for public service. Secretary Año has released an order to our LGUs that they cannot put names, pictures and that they should let barangays handle the aid distribution.)
Barangay officials are required to submit a list of the 18 million poorest Filipino families that will receive cash aid on top of food packs, "subject to vetting and approval" of the social welfare department, said Malaya.
The beneficiaries will also include the elderly, migrant workers in distress, persons with disability and single parents, he said.
The house-to-house aid distribution will start this afternoon in 2 pilot barangays in Tondo, Manila and Parañaque chosen by their city governments, said the official.
Residents in other areas should wait for the aid announcement from their barangay leaders and prepare IDs for claiming the assistance, Malaya said.
The Philippines as of Thursday confirmed 107 deaths out of its total 2,633 cases of the respiratory disease.
Even during the lockdown, cases of the disease could spike the recent delivery of test kits and the accreditation of additional screening laboratories, the health department earlier said.
Metro Manila and the entire Luzon, home to about half of the country's 100 million people, is under lockdown until April 12 to contain the pandemic.