Hunger can stir unrest – Panelo

    Presidential Spokesman Salvador Panelo listens intently to a question (Photo by Yancy Lim)

    CHIEF Presidential Legal Counsel Salvador Panelo, concurrent presidential spokesman, on Tuesday agreed with Sen. Panfilo Lacson that unrest may ensue if government fails to immediately act and resolve the amelioration and subsidy issues amid the current Luzon-wide lockdown due to the coronavirus disease (COVID-19).

    Panelo, in a virtual briefing, said social unrest can be expected when people go hungry.

    “That’s a given. Social unrest will always come when people get hungry and there is no food to feed their stomach,” he said.

    He noted that people have been complaining about the delay in the delivery of the P5,000 to P8,000 social amelioration and emergency subsidy packages, as well as relief and food packs, and their exclusion from the list of beneficiaries.

    There has also been confusion as to the qualifications of the beneficiaries after an initial government announcement said the subsidy would only be given to Pantawid Pamilya Program beneficiaries (4Ps), low-income households and those belonging to vulnerable sectors.

    It was later clarified that the vulnerable sector – which includes senior citizens, persons with disability, pregnant and lactating mothers, and solo parents – should come from low-income families to qualify and that the subsidy is provided per family and not per individual. Those who are already receiving pensions are also not qualified.

    The 4Ps beneficiaries, the Department of Social Welfare and Development has clarified, will not recipient the full amount of the government cash aid because they are already getting subsidies from government.

    Panelo said the government is doing its best to attend to the needs of the people.

    He said President Duterte has directed DSWD Secretary Rolando Bautista, Interior Secretary Eduardo Año and Defense Secretary Delfin Lorenzana to oversee the distribution of the government assistance to the public.


     Cabinet Secretary Karlo Nograles said the Inter-Agency Task Force on the Management of Emerging Infectious Diseases (IATF-EID) has approved the establishment of a Bayanihan One-Stop Shop for sectoral agencies involved in the accreditation and logistics in connection with the government response on the COVID-19 pandemic.

    Nograles said the Anti-Red Tape Authority (ARTA) recommended the Bayanihan One-Stop Shop, which will provide a single window for all state agencies involved in the importation of critical commodities.

    ARTA, the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) and Bureau of Customs (BOC), on April 2, signed a Joint Memorandum Circular 01 which adopts the formation of Bayanihan One-Stop Shop for securing license to operate and to import critical commodities amid health crisis.

    The Bayanihan One-Stop Shop covers all commercial importation of sets of personal protective equipment, and other medical supplies identified by the Department of Health as “Covid-19 critical commodities” and need a license to operate from FDA.


     Nograles said the Civil Service Commission has also issued a memorandum circular giving the officials and employees of government an additional 60 days or until June 30 to file their statement of assets, liabilities, and net worth (SALN).

    Deadline for the submission of SALNs is April 30.

    The President had extended the current enhanced community quarantine in Luzon until April 30. Under the lockdown, a work stoppage is observed but some government offices are maintaining skeletal forces to ensure the continued delivery of basic service to the public.