MANILA - The Department of the Interior and Local Government (DILG) has yet to receive complaints of either corruption or anomalies so far regarding the financial aid currently being distributed for those affected by the stricter lockdown in the NCR Plus, an official said Wednesday.
The government placed Metro Manila and 4 nearby provinces Laguna, Rizal, Bulacan, and Cavite— collectively NCR Plus— under ECQ on March 29 until April 11 due to record-high coronavirus infections, a bulk of which came from these areas.
Lockdown restrictions, however, were eased to modified ECQ from April 12 until the end of the month.
Interior Undersecretary Jonathan Malaya told ABS-CBN News that complaints were mostly centered on the lists of eligible recipients, but his department has yet to receive any reports on alleged anomalies on the cash assistance.
“They are now very compliant with the rules and regulations. So far wala pa tayong complaints on anomalya at iregularidad. Complaints are mostly sa listahan,” Malaya said in an interview.
(We have received no complaints on alleged irregularities and anomalies so far. Complaints were mostly on the list.)
“As far as irregularities are concerned, wala masyado compared noong isang taon. Dito sa ayuda, walang gaanong katiwalian sa barangay officials. Last year, kinasuhan at may mga na-suspend pa sa kanila,” the official added.
(There were fewer irregularities reported compared to last year. This is also the case when it comes to corruption involving village officials. Last year, some village officials were suspended and charged.)
He also noted that the distribution of the so-called "ECQ ayuda" by local government units were smooth-sailing so far, except for separate incidents in Quezon City and Taguig City.
“Almost lahat naman (maayos). Walang malalaking problema, except for the incident in Batasan, first day iyon,” Malaya said, referring to the incident in QC on April 7, wherein beneficiaries waited in line for hours to claim the financial assistance promised by the government.
(Almost all cities had a proper distribution of aid. There were no huge problems encountered so far except for that in Batasan during the first day.)
There was also an instance where Taguig City's local government suspended the distribution of cash assistance in Barangay Upper Bicutan after some disappointed residents stormed the distribution venue and allegedly threatened local officials.
“Allegedly, may threats made pa sa ayuda distribution team. Upper Bicutan. Only one in the whole of Taguig,” he narrated.
(Allegedly, there were some threats made against the distribution team in Upper Bicutan.)
A total of 2.3 million out of the 22.9 million low-income families in the NCR plus have received the cash aid as of Tuesday, according to Malaya. He said that this accounts for 20 percent of the target.
The government official also reiterated some reminders on receiving the financial aid.
“Yung ayuda has to be received personally by the individual, unless senior citizen siya or stay at home. Pwedeng tanggapin yun ng head of the family," he explained.
He also added that the agency is open to extending the 15-day deadline for the financial aid payout among localities.
This came after some local government units (LGUs), especially some big cities, reported that they were struggling to distribute the assistance to beneficiaries.
He, however, pointed out that his agency has yet to receive a formal request from LGUs.
“We have yet to formally receive the request. We will take the request for an extension on a case to case basis. May LGUs tayo na hindi ganon kalaki ang population at pondo na i-download, so mahababol nila ang 15-day period,” he said.
“We are open to granting an extension for justifiable reasons of LGUs concerned. So far, wala pa namang formal request.”
(There are LGUs that have small population and funding, so they can finish it during the 15-day period... We haven't received any formal request yet.)
President Rodrigo Duterte at the start of the month approved the P22.9-billion assistance for low-income earners in the NCR Plus areas.
For every family, up to 4 members can receive P1,000 worth of assistance each, DSWD spokesperson Irene Dumlao had said. - With a report from Reuters