Senate President Vicente Sotto III and Senator Panfilo Lacson have filed Senate Resolution 352, seeking to investigate the National ID System’s delayed implementation.
They said the National ID System could hasten the effective distribution of help to Filipinos affected by the Luzon-wide lockdown due to COVID-19.
“This would not only aid in the efficient distribution of the social amelioration program currently being implemented by different government agencies but would also help our law enforcement agencies in fighting crimes and facilitate key government services and transactions among others,” said the two senators.
“Almost two years from its enactment into law and the approval of its implementing rules and regulations, there seems to be no significant headway on its implementation,” they added.
President Rodrigo Duterte signed into law in 2018 Republic Act No. 11055 or the Philippine Identification System Act.
The ID system receives P2 billion annually for the program, according to Senate Resolution No. 352.
House solons call
Two members of the House of Representatives on Thursday said the government should start issuing the national identification cards to allow the rapid and efficient distribution of financial aid to the most vulnerable citizens.
Rep. Sol Aragones of Laguna and Deputy Speaker Luis Raymund Villafuerte said while it might be very difficult for the PSA to complete the roll-out during the imposition of the enhanced community quarantine, the agency should go full-force and all-out to implement and execute the National ID System once the ECQ is lifted.
Aragones agreed with Duterte that a comprehensive database of the country’s population would allow the government to immediately identify those that would be entitled to emergency aid or subsidies.
Plea for prisoners
The Supreme Court has been prodded to convene the Justice Sector Coordinating Council to consider a request for the release on humanitarian grounds of prisoners considered vulnerable to the coronavirus disease.
In a two-page letter dated April 15, the Free Legal Assistance Group stressed there was a need for the high court to convene the JSCC to address issues concerning jail decongestion in light of health concerns brought by the said virus.
Medical doctors called
The Philippine Army has called for additional medical doctors to join the Army Medical Corps in the fight against the pandemic.
Army Chief Lt. Gen. Gilbert I. Gapay gave his guidance to the Army Assistant Chief of Staff for Personnel, Office of the Army Chief Surgeon, and Office of the Army Chief Nurse to fast track the recruitment of medical practitioners who will be deployed to COVID-19 treatment facilities.
Applicant must be a graduate of Doctor of Medicine, has a valid and current PRC License, natural-born Filipino citizen, 25 to 38 years old, single or married and of good moral character.
Upon taking oath, the newly recruited doctors will have an initial rank of Probationary Second Lieutenant with a base pay of P38,366 plus allowances and other benefits. Once commissioned, they will be promoted to the rank of Captain with base pay of P56,582 and additional benefits.
1,000 cases in Quezon City
Quezon City has close to 1,000 confirmed cases of coronavirus disease as of April 15, 7 p.m., the local government said in its official Viber account.
To date, the city has 982 COVID cases, and four new deaths, bringing the death toll to a total of 79.
Meanwhile, 18,400 tricycle, jeepney, and taxi drivers have already received financial assistance from the city’s Kalinga program.
Under the program, market vendors, solo parents, and persons with disability whose livelihoods have been badly affected by the lockdown would also receive cash help.
The recovery of a 2-month old baby from COVID-19 in Mariveles in Bataan somewhat lifted up the spirits of residents as health officials reported that out of 42 confirmed COVID-19 cases, 19 of them were health workers that included 11 doctors.
“The 2-month old baby resident of Mariveles recovered from COVID-19”, provincial information officer Angel Ortiz Luis-Lara said.
Gov. Abet Garcia earlier said that doctors including other health workers in the province were doing their best risking their own safety to save patients.
In Makati City
The Makati City government is planning to conduct free mass testing for persons with symptoms of the coronavirus disease as well as asymptomatic frontliners to detect, isolate, and treat those infected.
Mayor Abigail Binay said she was set to sign an agreement with the Philippine Red Cross for the mass testing of persons under investigation, persons under monitoring, and frontliners.
“You have to remember the priority of DOH (Department of Health) are those who have symptoms. So we will be testing, on our part. We will be testing our frontliners who do not have symptoms. We need to make sure that they are not sick,” she said in a TV news program.
Manila’s face masks
Manila City Mayor Francisco “Isko Moreno” Domagoso has signed an ordinance requiring the mandatory use of face masks in all public places in the nation’s capital.
Residents who fail to comply with the ordinance may be fined P1,000 for the first offense, P2,000 for the second offense, and P5,000 or one month imprisonment or both for the third and subsequent offense.
Funeral parlors warned
Meantime, Mayor Domagoso has warned funeral homes that will refuse or overcharge families of deceased coronavirus disease patients in Manila that they will be penalized.
Domagoso, in his Facebook Live video on Wednesday night, said he already signed the city’s Ordinance 8628, which states that the nation’s capital will impose fines or penalties on funeral homes that “will refuse to provide logistics and transport of COVID-19 patients” and overcharge for services including, “but not limited to,” sale of coffins, cremations, and burials. With Rio N. Araja, Butch Gunio, Joel Zurbano, and Willie Casas