283 execs face SAP raps

Nearly 300 elected local officials are being investigated for alleged anomalies in the distribution of the first tranche of the social amelioration program (SAP), the Criminal Investigation and Detection Group (CIDG) said on Friday.

Brig. Gen. Rhoderick Armamento, CIDG Deputy Director for Administration, said as of Thursday, a total 283 elected officials, ranging from the mayor down to Sangguniang Kabataan chairman, and 445 other individuals including barangay secretaries, treasurers, purok leaders, liaison officers are under investigation.

Among those being investigated is a municipal mayor in Eastern Visayas who allegedly did not transmit cash aid worth over P300,000 to a barangay chairman, who is the complainant.

“The investigation is ongoing and we are gathering pieces of evidence and witnesses that we could use against him,” Armamento told reporters in a phone interview.

Meanwhile, the CIDG has filed 157 cases before city and municipal prosecutors against government officials for violation of the Anti-Graft and Corrupt Practices Act, the Code of Conduct and Ethical Standards for Public Officials and Employees, and the Bayanihan to Heal as One Act, among others.

Based on the investigation, Region 12 (Soccsksargen) has the most cases of SAP anomalies, followed by Central Visayas.

341,000 OFWs

The Department of Labor and Employment estimated some 341,000 overseas Filipino workers had lost their jobs abroad due to the pandemic.

Technical Education and Skills Development Authority Deputy Director-General John Bertiz III said the government was anticipating 300,000 of the estimated 341,000 OFWs would be returning home to the Philippines within this year.

“So far, almost 52,000 OFWs have already returned or have been repatriated and more than 20,000 are expected to arrive before the end of this month, he said.

‘One-stop shop’

The Joint Task Force Covid Shield on Friday ordered chiefs of municipal and city police stations to coordinate with their respective local government units to establish a “one-stop shop” that would process documents for travel of locally stranded individuals (LSIs).

In a statement, Lt. Gen. Guillermo Eleazar, Philippine National Police deputy chief for operations and concurrent task force commander, said the move was upon instructions of PNP chief, Gen. Archie Gamboa.

He said coordination between local police officials and LGUs was essential as the medical clearance certificate being issued by the local city and municipal health office, was one of the two main requirements for the issuance of travel authority.

New curfew hours

The Paranaque City government is implementing new curfew hours – from 10 p.m. to 4 a.m. – to allow dine-in restaurants and other food establishments to operate much longer hours.

Mayor Edwin Olivarez said the new curfew period has been shortened (from the initial 8 p.m. to 5 a.m.) to also allow residents to buy essential commodities and let working residents return home before 10 p.m.

The city government has issued guidelines for dine-in restaurants and other food establishments, allowing them to open and accommodate at a reduced 30 percent capacity.

Online sellers

The registration of an online business with the Department of Trade and Industry is for regulation purposes only and does not mean it will be automatically taxed, Valenzuela Rep. Wes Gatchalian said.

The lawmaker issued the clarification following a backlash to the Bureau of Internal Revenue’s order for online sellers to register and pay tax dues.

Gatchalian, chair of the House Committee on Trade and Industry and author of House Bill No. 6122, which provides for the regulation of online transactions, said the regulatory framework he was proposing should not be taken as a barrier to business, but an opportunity for growth in terms of access to government programs and incentives.

Octogenarian suicide

In Angeles City in Pampanga, an octagenarian man reportedly infected with novel coronavirus committed suicide Friday by hanging himself, using pulse oximeter cord inside room 251 at the Angeles Medical Center in Barangay Lourdes Sur.

The incident was discovered by a duty nurse who conducted a morning routine check of patients, including one at the isolation room, police said.

The victim, who is from Barangay Margot in Angeles City, was initially diagnosed with community-acquired pneumonia when he was confined at the AMC on June 13. He tested positive of COVID-19 five days later.

PUV drivers

The militant Kilusang Mayo Uno has reiterated its demand for the government to stop ignoring what it called was the worsening situation Filipino public utility drivers and their families are facing because of the ban on public transport.

The KMU said that it had been three months since the national government imposed the ban but added it had failed to implement any effective and sufficient social mitigation program to help the PUV drivers suddenly rendered jobless.

“We have no doubt as to the support of ordinary commuters for our call for the resumption of the public transport operations such as jeepney operations. Everyday we see and hear of tales of woes from Filipinos desperate to get to and from work and how difficult it is to access transportation. Why are we being forced to suffer all this when all we want is to earn a living even as we ensure that we protect our health and the health of others against COVID-19?” said KMU chairperson Elmer Labog.

Monthly pension

Senior citizens in Manila have been assured they will receive their complete monthly pension as the city government strives to complete its backlog of unissued cash cards.

The issuance of PayMaya cards for senior citizens who are Manila City residents was severely delayed due to quarantine protocols amid the COVID-19 pandemic.

But Manila City Mayor Francisco Domagoso has vowed the backlog of unissued cash cards will be completed before October 2020.

Topics: COVID-19 , social amelioration program , Criminal Investigation and Detection Group , Rhoderick Armamento , Curfew , Department of Trade and Industry , Online business , tax
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