MANILA – A PHP30,000 reward will be given to those who can report local officials stealing emergency subsidies meant for poor Filipino families affected by the coronavirus disease 2019 (Covid-19) pandemic.
Presidential Spokesperson Harry Roque said President Rodrigo Duterte decided to give the reward after he got furious over reports that a certain Danilo Flores, a kagawad (village councilor) of Hagonoy, Bulacan, was arrested for allegedly pocketing almost half of the cash aid under the government’s Social Amelioration Program (SAP) which was meant for low-income households.
“Sa kagustuhan po ng ating Pangulo na matigil ‘yung pangungurakot pagdating po sa SAP at iba pang ayuda ng gobyerno… siya po ay magbibigay ng pabuya ng PHP30,000 sa lahat po na magre-report ng mga local officials na kumakana o kinukurakot ang mga ayuda para po sa mga mahihirap (Because of the President’s desire to stop corruption when it comes to the SAP and other government assistance…he will be giving a reward of PHP30,000 to all those who report local officials who steal cash aid meant for the poor),” Roque said in a televised meeting with Duterte and other Cabinet officials aired late Monday night.
Roque said that corrupt local officials can be reported through the 8888 citizens’ complaint hotline.
In the same televised meeting, Duterte hurled expletives at Flores for misappropriating funds for Covid-19 response.
“Nakuha ka pa ng television na hinihingi mo…mahirap na nga, ikaw may trabaho ka na, Kagawad ka ang p*t*ng*na kukunin mo pa yung pera ng mahirap (You were even caught on television asking…they’re already poor, you have a job, you’re Kagawad and you still steal the money of the poor). I’d like to presume that you were elected because your constituents find you to be a man of integrity, honesty and that you can perform,” Duterte said.
Duterte also reiterated his warning against corruption amid a prevailing pandemic.
“Sinabi ko na sa inyo noon, ‘wag sa panahong ito (I told you this before, not at this time),” Duterte said.
Duterte earlier warned local officials engaged in corrupt activities that they could be slapped with criminal charges and could be detained if proven guilty.
He said that “people tasked of distributing the money, food, and relief goods” should do their work “to a tee” or risk being detained.
Meanwhile, Duterte also urged mayors to look into local executives distributing cash aid to different households.
“’Yung mga mayors naman, kindly, kindly look into the people that you have commissioned to do the distribution sa pera (of money),” he said.
He ordered local officials to avoid handing out cash aid to men, particularly those gambling and drinking liquor and instead give them to their wives.
“This is a direct order to everybody, pag mag-distribute kayo ng pera ‘wag niyong ibigay sa mga p*t*ng*n* ninyong mga asawa…ibigay ninyo sa babae, to the wife. ‘Wag ninyong ibigay diyan sa mga lalaki…wala na nga ginagawa, walang trabaho, walang binibigay sa pamilya, meron nang dadating na pera, sinusugal naman ninyo (when you distribute money, don’t give it to the husbands…give it to the women, to the wife. Don’t give it to the men…those not doing anything, have no jobs, have nothing to give the family, but when money comes, they use it for gambling),” he said.
Earlier, the Department of Justice (DOJ) said the government can discontinue handing out cash aid to persons found to be engaging in illegal drugs, gambling, and other unlawful activities.
Under the Bayanihan to Heal as One law or Republic Act No. 11469, the government has set aside a PHP200-billion emergency subsidy for about 18 million low-income families in two tranches from April until May.
The original number of poor households who will get emergency subsidies is 18 million. However, Duterte decided to grant cash aid to an additional five million families.
These low-income households will be receiving financial assistance ranging from PHP5,000 to PHP8,000. (ia/PNA)