Once again, I would like to congratulate and express my deepest appreciation to the 73 barangays in Manila which registered no COVID-19 cases for the past two months.
In an austere ceremony, I and Vice Mayor Honey Lacuna cited these barangays at the regular-flag raising we held last Monday.
These barangays will receive from the city government P100,000 each. This amount will form part of their funds that they can use either in continuously fighting COVID-19 or in whatever way their officials see fit. The funds will be deposited on Monday, since the typhoon prevented us from doing it earlier.
The budget allotment, by the way, was worked out expeditiously by the Manila City Council headed by Vice Mayor Lacuna as its presiding officer and I thank her and the council members for this.
Let me be clear though. The money is neither a prize nor a reward to the barangay chairman or barangay kagawad. It is being given for the benefit of the constituents and it will be spent on them.
Why are we incentivizing the barangays? We are very much aware that if every other agency of government is now running with highly depleted funds, more so the barangays whose funds are but a speck compared to the local governments or other government institutions.
I believe the system of giving incentives is also effective in stirring awareness and cooperation among the residents to rigidly follow basic, simple health protocols that will protect themselves, their loved ones, and others from getting infected with the coronavirus.
It is now up to the barangays how they would want to utilize the fresh funds being injected by the city. I am confident they will put that money to good use.
I and Vice Mayor Honey are extremely thankful to these barangays for their cooperation and for heeding the call to make their areas of jurisdiction COVID-free. There are some that actually nearly made it to the list, having registered just one or two COVID-19 cases. Too, such
cases have plateaued in the last two weeks.
For those entertaining all sorts of doubts, let me explain the process we used. The testing is being done by the city government which also owns the equipment being utilized.
Those being tested are required to submit their address in the same manner that the same is also being required in private hospitals. The Department of Health and the Manila Health Department are also mandated to be informed of every such case.
With all these in place, there is no way that any barangay, or anyone for that matter, can pull one over the city government. So I assure all of you, it’s fool-proof.
To me, however, what is more important is that the people of Manila are now participating very actively in our goal to save as many as possible.
I just hope that the achievement of these COVID-free barangays that heeded the call of city government to make their barangays free of coronavirus cases will be replicated by other barangays.
In fact, I urge the neighboring villages of those who made to the list of COVID-free barangays to inquire how the awardee-barangays made it to the list and follow suit.
There are a total of 896 barangays in Manila and having 73 of them, or nearly 10 percent, free from the coronavirus is a solid proof that keeping the virus at bay is not impossible and is, in fact, duplicable.
It is an achievement, not by us in the city government or the barangay authorities, but by the people of Manila themselves.
Gaya ng paulit-ulit kong sinasabi, kailangan ko ang tulong ninyong lahat. Walang magmamalasakit sa Maynila kundi tayo ding mga Batang Maynila. Manila, God first!
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