Red tape in government relief

"The result is a delay in much-needed help for the poor."


Santa Banana, some of my friends have done nothing but complain about the implementation of the Enhanced Community Quarantine in Metro Manila and Luzon. They say that since there is nothing good coming out of all this, they have stopped watching TV, listening to the radio, or browsing the Internet.

But how can you keep yourself informed about what is happening when you shut the world out? Certainly I do not have that luxury, because I am a journalist who must write three columns a week. Information is our ally during this pandemic.

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The most common complaint these days is red tape in the distribution of assistance to the poorest of the poor. Since it is the barangay that is the frontliner in the implementation of the lockdown, officials have to be guided by instructions from the Department of the Interior and Local Government.

Unfortunately, this guidance is much delayed.

The result is that the barangays cannot act, much to the detriment of the people.

This week we heard how some members of the urban poor community demanded that they be given food. And what did the cops do? They arrested them! Since when has it been a crime to cry for help?

This is the problem with the police, They lack maximum tolerance. This crisis demand sacrifices from everybody.

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There is an ongoing debate on whether the lockdown should be lifted or extended.

The Inter-Agency Task Force is now studying whether it should extend the lockdown of Luzon (originally up to April 12) and Metro Manila (up to April 14). Some people say the lockdown should be extended for one more month; otherwise our gains will go to waste.

My wife and I are now at our wits’ end. We are staying with my daughter, and it is difficult for us to just stay indoors when we need food and medicine. We have a 24-hour curfew in Paranaque City. Still, we know that everybody must sacrifice and that the lockdown should be extended­—with some compromises—for the common good.

Lifting the restrictions would be toying with the lives of people. My wife and I see the need for draconian measures. Santa Banana, we have not yet seen the peak of this!

The Philippines is number 33 in the list of countries suffering from the COVID-19 pandemic. First on the list is the United States. China, where the virus started, is third; Italy is second.* * *

Makati Mayor Abigail Binay reported that the city has started distributing the midyear bonuses to senior citozens. I am supposed to receive P5,000 while my wife is supposed to receive P4,000. The problem is we cannot go out of our homes. I wonder if there is a way we can get our bonuses without having to leave our daughter’s home in Paranaque. Just asking, Mayor Abby.

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I will not have a column next week. I will devote my time to meditating and reflecting on the life, death and resurrection of Jesus Christ

Just remember that without Good Friday, there will be no Easter Sunday.

Topics: Enhanced Community Quarantine , Inter-Agency Task Force , COVID-19 , Abigail Binay , Department of the Interior and Local Government
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