By Minka Klaudia Tiangco

Manila Mayor Francisco “Isko Moreno” Domagoso warned that he will file charges before the Commission on Audit (CoA) against barangay officials who do not properly distribute relief food boxes to residents of the city amid the COVID-19 crisis.

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Manila Mayor Francisco “Isko Moreno” Domagoso
(Manila City Public Information Office / MANILA BULLETIN)

His statement came after members of the city government reportedly saw a barangay chairman holding a list with 25 names listed under one family.

“Nananawagan ako sa mga chairman, ayusin niyo po. Sa bawat pagnanais, pag-aasam, at pagiging makasarili, at nililista niyo isang pangalan, 25 na pangalan (pero mula sa) iisang pamilya—sa bawat box na makukuha niyo, isang pamilya naman ang mawawalan,” Domagoso said in his city address on Wednesday.

(I am calling on the chairmen, do this properly. For every greedy act where you list 25 names under one family, for each box that you take, one family is deprived.)

“Paalala lang po, siguraduhin po, kapag may mali, panananagutin ko kayo sa mata ng batas, sa Commission on Audit. Cargo niyo po iyan. Pera po ng taumbayan iyan. Dapat lang makamit nila iyan.”

(Let this be a reminder. Be sure that you do this right. If not, I will make you pay before the eyes of the law, before the Commission on Audit. That is yours to carry. That is bought with the taxpayers’ money, so they should receive it.)

The city mayor also told barangay officials to refrain from giving favors to people they know and to treat each resident in the city equally.

Earlier, Domagoso said all families in Manila, whether they are registered voters or not, should receive relief goods from the city government.

“Tingnan natin kung pantay-pantay ang mamamayan. Lahat may sikmura. Mahirap, middle class, mayaman. Lahat kailangan kumain,” he said.

(Let us look at the residents equally. All of them have stomachs. The poor, the middle class, and the rich. All of them need to eat.)

“Sa panahon ngayon, ang kailangan umiral sa atin ay malasakit — malasakit sa kapwa, pagmamahal sa kapwa. Huwag tayo mang-iiwan ng pamilya.”

(During these times, compassion should move us—compassion and love for our fellow men. Let us not leave any family behind.)

Per the Manila Public Information Office’s (PIO) data, 44,763 out of 350,000 food boxes have already been distributed by the city government as of Wednesday.

Earlier, the local chief executive appealed to the national government to increase the city’s food supplies to ensure that each resident in the densely-populated city gets to eat during the month-long enhanced community quarantine in Luzon.

“Kami sa Maynila, kailangan na kailangan namin ng pagkain (We really need food in Manila). We want to defeat COVID-19. Hindi namin siya bibigyan ng pahinga (We will not give it a rest). But as you all know, the snowball effect of quarantine affects everything, supply and so on,” he said in the Laging Handa public briefing on Wednesday.

“DSWD (Department of Social Welfare and Development) should particularly look into Manila. I’m not only appealing for my people. I’m just being very pragmatic in identifying demographics of Metro Manila,” he added.

President Duterte placed the entire island of Luzon under enhanced community quarantine from March 17 to April 12 in a bid to contain the COVID-19 spread.

The Department of Health on Wednesday afternoon reported 84 new COVID-19 cases, bringing the total number of cases in the Philippines to 636, with 38 deaths and 26 recovered patients.

In Manila, there are now 32 cases with three mortalities and two recovered patients as of Wednesday evening.

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