3 senators say COVID-19 PH aid delivery hampered by ‘presidential wannabes’
MANILA, Philippines — It’s the “presidential wannabes,” not red tape that’s hampering the distribution of aid to families affected by the Luzon-wide lockdown, according to three opposition senators.
In a joint statement on Thursday, Senate Minority Leader Franklin Drilon and Senators Francis Pangilinan and Risa Hontiveros slammed politicians supposedly exploiting the COVID-19 situation in the country to advance their political agenda.
“It is not red tape. It is the 2022 political campaign that is hampering the immediate distribution of relief to millions of poor families,” the three senators said.
This amid complaints regarding the supposed sluggish release of assistance by the Department of Social Welfare and Development (DSWD) and other agencies.
“To presidential wannabes, hands-off, please. Go away,” they said.
“It saddens us that there are people who could be so heartless and power-hungry as to take advantage of this crisis to advance their political ambition,” they added.
The senators, all belonging to the Senate minority bloc, said the distribution of disaster aid and bureaucracy is “politicized” when “political campaign gets in the way.”
“Worse, national and local officials who have shown initiative and innovation in responding to COVID-19 crisis are politicized, criticized and crucified, which would only add to the suffering of our countrymen and women,” they stressed.
The minority bloc also said that private organizations, corporations, and institutions should not let themselves be used for apparent political propaganda.
“When charity is politicized, it stinks. In times like this, it kills,” they added.
The senators also questioned the need for the DSWD to distribute social amelioration cards (SAC) and gather personal information again when it has a complete database of poor and low-income families that need assistance from the government.
The SAC is a form being distributed at the barangay level to capture a household’s profile, which will be used as the basis in providing aid to the affected families.
“Why are they collecting information again? We have a functional National Household Targeting System that is used by the DSWD in implementing the 4Ps program?” they asked.
“Does it mean that their database is not reliable? If they cannot explain it, well, we cannot help but think that it is part of an effort to create a database for the 2022 campaign,” the senators claimed.
The minority bloc then urged the DSWD and other agencies to just use their existing database in implementing the social amelioration package during the COVID-19 crisis.
“Let us spare our fellow Filipinos this unnecessary procedure. Our kababayans are getting hungry and desperate for help. They lost jobs. Give the aid ASAP,” they said.
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