Senate Minority Leader Franklin Drilon wants to repeal a section of the Bayanihan to Heal as One Act which punishes quarantine violators to prevent abuses in its implementation following the COVID-19 pandemic.
“I have extreme reservations about renewing Section 6 of RA No. 11469 because of what we have seen as the way it is implemented by those who are in charge,” Drilon said in a Senate hearing.
“We have seen how law enforcers have used this provision to arrest people for acts which otherwise would not justify arrest without warrants.
“The alleged violators are mostly the poor and vulnerable who are driven by hunger and the lack of jobs.”
Philippine National Police Chief Archie Gamboa, who attended the hearing, did not oppose the proposed repeal.
Bills’ swift passage urged
Albay Rep. Joey Salceda, head of the House’s ways and means committee, is pushing for the swift passage of several bills aimed at mitigating the damage wrought by the community quarantine that saw the economy come to a standstill.
He asked President Rodrigo Duterte to call for a special session of Congress to a special session “to pass critically needed economic measures to boost the economy” that practically collapsed due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
Salceda, tagged as the “apostle of total lockdown” in the House, had always advocated total lockdowns and similar draconian measures to contain the spread of the pandemic.
Quezon City Rep. Precious Castelo on Friday urged the Health department to hire 13,000 more health care personnel as authorized under its budget this year.
She said the department had 72,479 permanent positions of which 59,427 were filled, leaving a balance of 13,058.
“Since appropriations for government salaries are released in full, including those for vacant positions, the DOH should have the funds to hire additional personnel to complete its staff,” Castelo said.
This developed as three party-list legislators, Reps. Presley de Jesus of Philreca, Sergio Dagooc of APEC, and Adriano Ebcas of Ako Padayon Pilipino filed House Resolution 906 urging the Health department to ensure the continued safe implementation of the National Immunization Program for children despite the challenges posed by the COVID-19 pandemic.
Senator Sherwin Gatchalian on Friday urged the government to use the Community-Based Monitoring System Act to ensure efficient distribution of the second tranche of the Social Amelioration Program.
Five million more poor families have been added to the list of beneficiaries who will receive the second wave of cash assistance under the national government’s SAP.
Gatchalian said the CBMS law would correct the inefficiencies in the past two months of SAP delivery and ward off irregularities and corruption among local officials who would be disbursing the cash.
Appeal for subsidy
The fishermen’s group Pambansang Lakas ng Kilusang Mamamalakaya ng Pilipinas said Friday the government’s financial subsidy must continue even under the softer GCQ.
“Economic activities including transportation are still limited under the GCQ, affecting a significant number of ordinary workers who barely make ends meet. Government subsidy and relief aid should not stop with the lifting of the ECQ,” Fernando Hicap, PAMALAKAYA national chairman, said in a statement.
He said farmers and fishermen need at least P15,000 in production subsidy especially with another oil price hike that took effect last week.
Manila Mayor Francisco Domagoso recently led the launching of the fifth quarantine facility for probable and suspected coronavirus patients in his city.
Domagoso was joined by Vice Mayor Maria Shielah Lacuna-Pangan during the launching of the 40-bed quarantine facility at the Arellano High School in Sta. Cruz.
“I think by building more facilities like this, at least mabibigyan natin ng kapanatagan ng kalooban ang mga kababayan natin,” Domagoso said.
Liquor ban lifted
Cavite Gov. Jonvic Remulla said the liquor ban in the province will be lifted around 1 p.m. on June 1.
But only quarantine-pass holders may buy alcoholic beverages, and only from 1 p.m. to 4 p.m.