MANILA - Sen. Risa Hontiveros on Wednesday slammed Malacañang for allegedly politicizing the distribution of financial assistance meant to help the poor affected by the fresh lockdown.
"This government should stop undermining the autonomy of our LGUs (local government units)," she said in a statement.
Hontiveros criticized President Rodrigo Duterte, recently described by his spokesman as the country's "best communicator" during the COVID-19 pandemic, for threatening the cash aid program of a certain local government in Metro Manila.
She was not amused that despite the still-raging pandemic, the Palace still had time for such "tsismis."
In his regular public address Monday, Duterte said he would strip a city government of the power to distribute cash aid because of its disorderly vaccination system.
The chief executive, who in 2018 said he sexually assaulted a maid when he was a teenager, also mocked a mayor for once posing for sexy photos.
For Hontiveros, the local governments are the "redeeming factor" in the country's fight against COVID-19.
She stressed that governors, mayors and village leaders had stepped up to the plate despite the lack of government support and scarcity of vaccine supply.
"Unfortunately, we cannot say the same for the administration, which has been remiss in its duties to serve the people," the senator said.
In her statement, Hontiveros also called on the Duterte administration to rationalize the distribution of COVID-19 jabs.
She cited that Central Visayas had among the lowest number of fully vaccinated individuals. The region is suffering from a virus resurgence fueled by the more contagious Delta variant.
"Saklolo ang hinihingi ng ating mga LGUs, hindi tsismis sa hatinggabi," Hontiveros said.
(Our LGUs need help, not gossip at midnight.)
As of Aug. 9, the Philippines has administered 24.9 million doses of COVID-19 vaccines. Of the figure, some 13.3 million have received the first dose while 11.6 million individuals were fully vaccinated.