Senators slam ‘no vax, no subsidy’ plan for 4Ps recipients

Senators slam ‘no vax, no subsidy’ plan for 4Ps recipients | Juan Manila


The Department of Interior and Local Government (DILG) earlier presented a proposal to refuse giving out provisions to beneficiaries of the Pantawid Pamilyang Pilipino Program (4Ps) if they refuse inoculation for Covid-19.


MANILA, Philippines — A number of senators, however, struck down the idea, saying the laws of 4Ps are cannot be changed or edited on a whim.

Hindi pwedeng gawin yan kung walang batas, at hindi ako sasangayon. Unang-unang, may batas na nagsasabing ipagpatuloy itong 4Ps program at di mo pwede dagdagan ang mga kondisyon dyan,” Senate Minority Leader Franklin Drilon said in an interview on Radio DZBB.

(You can’t do that without any law; I don’t agree to that. In the first place, there is a law that says the government should continue the 4Ps program and you can’t just add some conditions
to it.)

Senator Aquilino Pimentel III shared the sentiment, expressing that the “no vaccination, no subsidy” policy would be contradictory to the government’s program because it was meant to extend its hands on the marginalized.

“All of a sudden, dadagdagan mo ng condition ang 4Ps, in effecting, forcing the vaccines, para makatanggap ng ayuda? Mandatory ba ito? Kasi kelangan nila ng pera, tulong eh. Disagree po ako dun, huwag nilang baguhin yung rules of the program in the middle of the implementation of the program,” he said.

(All of a sudden you are putting additional conditions on the 4Ps, in effect, forcing them to take the vaccines, just so they can receive cash aid? Is this mandatory? Because they need cash, they need help. I disagree with that proposed policy. They should not change the rules in the middle of the implementation of the program.)

Senator Risa Hontiveros also agreed with the other senators, saying the proposal would not benefit the ones 4Ps should be helping. (HMP/JuanManila)

Make economic aid mandatory over vaccination—Farmers

Make economic aid mandatory over vaccination—Farmers | Juan Manila


The Inter-Agency Task Force (IATF) for the Management of Emerging Infectious Diseases and the Department of Health (DOH) recently proposed to make vaccination against Covid-19 mandatory for certain sectors.


MANILA, Philippines — In response to this, an organization of farmers called on the government to instead make the offering of economic aid to vulnerable members of the community mandatory instead.

Ang dapat na gawing mandatory at mabilisan sa ngayon ay ang pagbibigay ng ayuda at pang-ekonomikong tulong sa mamamayan,” said Kilusang Magbubukid ng Pilipinas (KMP) Chairperson Danilo Ramos in a statement.

(What must be made mandator and urgent now is the provision of aid and economic assistance to the people.)

“The government can’t just impose a jab on anyone or discriminate against anyone who still hasn’t got the COVID vaccine.

“Convincing people to get a vaccine will be a continuous process of education and public information on the necessity of achieving herd immunity,” he added, noting a high vaccine hesitancy in far-flung rural areas due to “lack of convincing information.”

The government should be concerned with the ensuring of steady livelihood and food accessibility for the Filipinos in addition to their focus on mass inoculation.

“If the majority of the people remain jobless and lacking in livelihood, it will be hard to stay healthy both physically and mentally,” the peasant leader noted.

“In fact, COVID worsened the hunger situation, with food inflation still high at 5.6 percent despite the slower pace of price hike of meat, vegetables, and fish.

Hindi abot-kaya ng masa ang presyo ng pagkain. Wala pang pambili kaya gutom talaga ang marami.”

(Food prices are not affordable to the masses so a lot of people are really getting hungry) (HMP/JuanManila)

Bello to expedite OFWs’ back pay and endo benefits

Bello to expedite OFWs’ back pay and endo benefits | Juan Manila


Coming to the rescue of the ‘bagong bayani’, Labor Secretary Silvestre Bello III has vowed to expedite the release of back pay and end-of-contract benefits owed to overseas Filipino workers (OFWs) forced to return home from Saudi Arabia in 2016.


MANILA, Philippines — Bello said the Saudi Arabian government is expected to pay ₱4.6 billion in unpaid salaries to 9,000 OFWs.

In a statement, the Department of Labor and Employment (DOLE) said it will create a technical working group whose members will include the Riyadh-based labor officer, the Overseas Workers Welfare Administration (OWWA), and the Philippine Overseas Employment Administration (POEA), as well as representatives from a Saudi Arabia OFW group “to determine all details relevant to the release of the full settlement.”

Bello also “ordered the inclusion of OFW representatives in the group that will meet with its counterpart from KSA (the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia) in order to hasten the processing of claims by some 9,000 OFWs.”

The DOLE statement further said that the Philippine and Saudi Arabian governments led by Bello and Saudi Labor Minister Ahmed al-Rajhi held talks in Dubai last week.

Citing OWWA Administrator Hans Leo Cacdac, DoLE said all specifics, such as eligibility, distribution, and documentary requirements will be finalized through the technical working group and should be ready before the scheduled visit of the Saudi Arabian labor minister in December. (JD/JuanManila)

Featured image:  Saudi Labor Minister Ahmed al-Rajhi.

Peace adviser responds to black propaganda

Peace adviser responds to black propaganda | Juan Manila


Responding to a post accusing the Office of the Presidential Adviser on the Peace Process (OPAPP) as one of three government agencies that failed to fully document and comply with the procurement rules in the government’s Covid-19 response program, presidential peace adviser Carlito Galvez Jr tagged the allegation as “utterly malicious and was written with the intent to discredit the reputation not only of our agency, but of the national government as a whole.”


MANILA Philippines — The post ‘Bad Marks in CoA (Commission on Audit) Reports for OCD, OPAPP, DILG’ published in the Facebook page of the Right to Know Right Now Coalition, claimed that aside from failing to document and comply with the procurement rules, OPAPP as well as the Office of Civil Defense (OCD) and Department of Interior and Local Government (DILG) paid out certain contractors for supplies and projects not fully delivered and have yet to fully account for all the funds that they had disbursed under the Bayanihan 1 and 2 laws.

The post further states “the audit reports of the Commission on Audit (CoA) for the year 2020 on the said agencies raise multiple adverse observations” and likewise cited OPAPP’s 642-strong workforce as well as the ₱103 million in salaries and wages and bounty of other compensation that were given to the agency’s personnel.

Galvez said the claims stated in the post were without bases and totally unfounded.

“First of all, we would like to set the record straight that OPAPP did not receive any funding under the Bayanihan 1 and 2 laws, as the funds were allocated only to agencies such as the Department of Health, OCD, and the Department of Public Works and Highways,” he disclosed.

Furthermore, the peace adviser clarified that OPAPP realigned its own fund which was tagged as Bayanihan 1 and Bayanihan 2 and that the realigned allotment had been disbursed at 94.27 percent for its anti-Covid-19 efforts and operations.

“We would also like to point out that the fund allocations for both laws are very specific, and can only be used for Covid-related expenses such as personal protective equipment (PPE), quarantine facility costs, and purchase of rapid testing kits.

“Secondly, all of OPAPP’s expenses, including the expense items mentioned in the coalition’s post, are contained as line items in the ₱2.71 billion budget granted to the agency under the General Appropriation Act (GAA) of 2019 and 2020,” he stressed.

Third, and in opposition to the claims spelled out in the post, Galvez noted that CoA had given OPAPP the highest rating it can give to a government agency—an ‘unqualified rating’ and a 95 percent efficiency rating, which obviously belies the accusations against the agency.

“Such recognition from COA and the Association of Government Accountants of the Philippines only proves one thing, and that is, our office is employing sound fiscal management and ensuring the most efficient use of its resources, while responding to the enormous challenges that have been brought about by the Covid-19 pandemic.

“We would therefore like to call on the Right to Know Right Now Coalition to cease from carrying out such black propaganda whose only objective is to soil the reputation not only of our agency but the whole national government by perpetuating such lies and misinformation,” he concluded. (TRC/JuanManila)