"Some lists are spurious."
We initially thought that distribution of dole or ayuda now would be smoother and less prone to corruption compared to last year, when the government initiated the program to ease the impact of community lockdown caused by the COVID-19 pandemic. It turns out we were terribly wrong.
According to Puwersa ng Bayaning Atleta party-list Congressman Jericho “Koko” Nograles, the dead, minors, and those already living overseas are among the 22.9 million Filipinos listed as beneficiaries in the latest round of the government’s cash amelioration program for areas in the so-called NCR Plus placed under enhanced community quarantine following a spike in COVID-19 cases over the recent weeks.
Nograles cited some cases in Brgy. 44 in Pasay City: A person who had been dead since August of last year, minors who were not qualified as beneficiaries, and a former house helper now living in Mindanao were among those listed by the Department of Social Welfare and Development as cash aid recipients.
While the incident wasn’t a bit surprising, the DSWD and the COA should look into this, Nograles said.
In the same barangay, Nograles claims some people were surprisingly included in the new list, despite the fact that they are minors. The directive regarding the ayuda clearly prohibits their inclusion.
Also, in that same barangay, Nograles says a kasambahay who had already left for Mindanao was still listed. In contrast, another kasambahay who is still a resident in the area had been delisted.
“It is easy to suspect and surmise, but it is the duty of the government to find out why and how this happens,” says the solon.
In Cainta, Rizal, a person who lives and works in Qatar was also listed as a recipient.
NCR-Plus is an area covering the National Capital Region and its surrounding provinces: Bulacan, Cavite, Rizal and Laguna.
Nograles says these cases may indicate a sample of thousands more of unqualified people on the DSWD’s amelioration list.
Because of these glaring irregularities, Nograles called on the DSWD and the Department of Interior and Local Government to investigate this matter. Every centavo in the P22.9 billion amelioration fund must be fully accounted for and the people who abused it must be punished.
He stressed that government officials found to be deliberately falsifying the list would face trouble with the Ombudsman.
Actually, if we are to analyze this new version of ayuda which President Rodrigo Duterte ordered distributed last April, we could see that the intent of whoever proposed that was founded on corruption.
To recall, Duterte ordered the distribution of the P1,000 to P4,000 dole out to minimize the economic impact of the ECQ he declared for NCR, Bulacan, Cavite, Rizal and Laguna from March 29 to April 4, which happened to fall on a Holy Week. Thus, if the ECQ only lasted for the said period, the economic impact would not be huge as we were about to go on a holiday anyway. And employees would be only reporting for work for two and a half days at the most.
So, if the ECQ only lasted for that week as originally planned, it would have been over even before the dole outs were distributed. Now, who was or who were supposed to benefit from that scheme?
The same people who were said to have made a killing in the ayuda version 1.0, maybe.
Reimburse patients dispensed with Remdesivir.
Anakalusugan Rep. Michael “Idol Mike” Defensor questions the practice of dispensing Remdesivir to COVID-19 patients even if the World Health Organization has recommended against its use.
Defensor is one of the major proponents of the use of ivermectin for the prevention and treatment of COVID-19. The DoH and Food and Drug Administration have continued to refuse to do so.
While the FDA has clarified it is not illegal to prescribe off-label drugs or drugs to be used other than its original purpose like the ivermectin which is originally an anti-parasitic drug, it has stressed it is not encouraging its use for COVID-19, either.
However, quite noticeably, it has been quiet on the issues of Remdesivir, which was originally intended for treatment of Hepatitis C and another drug tocilizumab, originally used in the treatment of arthritis but which the DoH has authorized for COVID-19 treatment.
Idol Mike is asking those who have been dispensed with Remdesivir to send him a private message so his office can arrange for the possible actions for reimbursement.