PRESIDENT Duterte on Wednesday night stripped local government officials of their role in the distribution of food and cash assistance to the public as he ordered the Department of Social Welfare and Development (DSWD) to assume full control over the grant of aids, particularly to low-income household and the vulnerable sector affected by the coronavirus disease.
The President, in a public address, also warned he would not hesitate to order the police and the military to “shoot dead” those who would sow chaos and endanger the lives of the people involved in the distribution of food and financial assistance.
Duterte relieved “politicians” of the task of distributing the government aid and instead assigned the task to DSWD under Secretary Rolando Bautista and peace adviser Carlito Galvez Jr., concurrent implementor of the National Action Plan on COVID-19.
“I removed it from the politicians because there are a lot of complaints. I removed the distribution of money and food like rice from the politicians. I gave all of it to Secretary Bautista. The money that’s yours. I may not be able to give it unevenly, but the government will distribute it and determine how much,” he said.
The President’s address came after a group of residents held a lightning rally in Quezon City to protest the alleged absence of food and cash assistance from the city government. 21 persons were arrested and detained by the police. Charges are being readied against them.
Aside from the QC incident, complaints have likewise piled up with the Department of Interior and Local Government about delays in the distribution of food and financial aid.
The President urged the public to be patient and understanding, saying that help would arrive and reassuring the public that the government has the money for the public assistance,
Duterte said DSWD will take over the distribution from the LGUs since it already has an existing data on the identities of the people who should benefit from the program, like the recipients of the Pantawid Pamilyang Pilipino program (4Ps).
Duterte warned leftist groups, particularly the Kadamay group, against encouraging the people to violate the law and provoking them to hold rallies or protest actions against the government.
The President also ordered the police to replicate the same violence committed against health workers and other frontliners. He said he would take responsibility for the police officers who will employ violence against persons who attack and discriminate against health workers.