'Walang puso': Ex-DSWD chief blasts politicizing aid distribution

Benise Balaoing, ABS-CBN News

Posted at Aug 12 2021 02:22 PM

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MANILA – It is inhumane to politicize the distribution of cash aid amid the COVID-19 pandemic, former Department of Social Welfare and Development Secretary Judy Taguiwalo said Thursday.

Taguiwalo’s comments came after President Rodrigo Duterte went off on an unnamed Metro Manila mayor in a speech Monday night, saying that he will not grant that city's local government the right to distribute the "ayuda" or pandemic aid because of its lack of an orderly distribution system.

Duterte also blasted the same mayor for having old lewd photos circulating online.

The broadsides appeared to be directed at Manila Mayor Francisco “Isko Moreno” Domagoso, who was an actor before he entered politics.

Cash aid distribution in Manila eventually resumed on Wednesday after Domagoso reportedly met with a number of Cabinet officials on Tuesday night.

“I think walang puso ka ngayon, in the midst of so much, you know sufferings, so much deaths looking at the upsurge of the admissions in the hospitals, the pila of people needing emergency assistance, and you think about politicizing it, attacking your enemies, spreading fake information,” Taguiwalo said.

“It is inhumane. It should not be the focus—it should not have been the focus ever since. The focus should have been grappling with the pandemic, with the health and economic crisis and providing the needed assistance.”

Taguiwalo, who is now the spokesperson of Citizens Urgent Response to End COVID-19 (CURE COVID-19), said barring local government units (LGUs) from distributing cash aid will mean delaying assistance for those who need urgent help.

“Asking an LGU to, or removing that responsibility of the LGU would only mean delay in the payout and we don’t want that because we’re looking at, you know, people who are hungry, people who needed help.”

“I think, the point is, not to politicize it because so much is needed to be done,” she said.

"The ayuda is delayed. The ayuda is insufficient. The ayuda does not cover everyone,” she stressed.

“So we’re asking the President: focus on making the pandemic response comprehensive. Make the response effective. It is a health and economic crisis. It is not a military crisis,” she said.