Defensor fumes as DILG a no-show at House panel hearing on LSIs
MANILA, Philippines — Anakalusugan party-list Rep. Mike Defensor on Thursday fumed at the Department of the Interior and Local Government (DILG) as no representative from the agency was present at a House hearing about the plight of locally-stranded individuals (LSIs) amid the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) pandemic.
“How can it be that the department in charge is not even here to shed light on the problem that not only us kundi ang buong bansa ay kinakaharap (but the whole country is facing as well)?” Defensor said during the House committee on good governance, who is tackling the situation of the LSIs.
“Dapat maipaliwanag nila ito kung may problema, kung may problema sa pondo, kung may problema sa assistance. Hindi pwedeng hindi sila magsalita tungkol dito sa issue [na] ‘to,” the representative added.
(This should be explained if there is a problem — a problem with the budget, if there is a problem with assistance. They can’t stay silent regarding this issue.)
The plight of the LSIs was highlighted as there are 6,7000 stranded passengers in the Rizal Memorial Sports Complex in Manila who have been waiting for government-sponsored trips back to their home provinces since last Saturday, July 25.
Photos from the stadium regarding the situation of LSIs later earned public criticism over apparent lack of social distancing despite coronavirus risks.
Of the thousands of individuals who remain in the stadium, 48 of them tested positive for the respiratory ailment, according to Presidential Management Staff Assistant Secretary Joseph Encabo.
The representative said that the DILG’s no-show was “an affront not only to the committee but to Congress itself.”
He then asked the committee secretary to write a “strongly worded” letter to DILG Secretary Eduardo Año for “insulting” the committee.
Defensor even warned: “Naiklaro po natin na may budget deliberations po tayo, at kung ganito ang performance ng DILG, sa ngayon na may mga stranded, at sa darating na panahon na sa palagay ko ho, hindi lang komite pero ang buong kongreso ay gagawa ng pamamaraan tungkol sa budget ng DILG.”
(We clarified that we are currently hearing budget deliberations. And if this is the performance that the DILG is showing, at a time where there are stranded individuals, then I think that not only the committee but the whole of Congress will do something about the budget of the DILG.)
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