The Department of the Interior and Local Government (DILG) has appealed to all local government units not to inject politics in the distribution of relief goods at this time of national calamity.
Reacting to reports that some barangays are selective in distributing relief goods, requiring the presentation of voter’s IDs or prioritizing their friends and relatives, DILG Secretary Eduardo M. Año said there is no place for politics in this time of calamity.
“Let us not put politics in these trying times. The elections are still far off. Let us serve first,” he said.
Ano pointed out that the newly-signed RA 11469 otherwise known as “Bayanihan to Heal As One Act” provides penalties to LGU officials disobeying national government policies or directives during this period of national emergency. Section 6 of RA 11469 imposes imprisonment of two (2) months or a fine of not more than One Million pesos or both, at the discretion of the court, for violations of the said law.
The DILG Chief said that he will not hesitate to file charges against barangay officials injecting politics into relief distribution at this time of national calamity if warranted by evidence.
He bared that he has organized monitoring teams in all regions of the country to investigate the conduct of LGU officials including barangays. “Undersecretary Marivel Sacendoncillo will lead the monitoring for provinces, cities, and towns while Undersecretary Martin Diño will monitor the barangays,” he said.
Año lauded the “White Ribbon initiative” of a barangay in Guiguinto, Bulacan which prioritizes the less fortunate families of the community in the distribution of relief goods.
In the Laging Handa press briefing in Malacañang, Año emphasized the prioritization of the poorest families as beneficiaries of the LGU in handing out relief goods.
He said that upon the declaration of ‘state of calamity,’ LGU are free to utilize their quick response fund to buy food packs to be given out to their less fortunate constituents. “Make the poorest family your priority,”
The DILG Secretary lauded the “White Ribbon initiative” of Barangay Malis in Guiguinto, Bulacan saying that “it is a simple yet meaningful way ensuring that the less fortunate families will get their relief packages from the LGUs.”
“It (White Ribbon initative) is a demonstration of the genuine heart of the Filipinos in helping people in need,” he added.
Año explained that the said initiative asks residents to tie a white ribbon on their doors or gates signifying that they want to waive or pass on their relief packages so that it can be given to poor families who could not afford to buy their own food at this time.
According to Barangay Malis’ Punong Barangay Cezar Mendoza, the initiative stems from the small number of relief goods they received that cannot accommodate the 4,264 households they need to assist. He says that through their social media accounts, he encouraged citizens to tie a White ribbon or cloth on their doors or gates if they will waive their share so that this can be given to the less fortunate.