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Duterte chaos leaves barangay officials 'helpless' amid lockdown

Barangay officials cry for help in providing relief packs and dealing with confusing messages and guidelines from the administration

4/9/2020 5:03:00 PM

Barangay officials cry for help in providing relief packs and dealing with confusing messages and guidelines from the administration. COVID19PH

Barangay officials cry for help in providing relief packs and dealing with confusing messages and guidelines from the administration

“Napakasakit sa amin. Pero ginagamit namin ang mga resources. Lumalapit kami sa business sector, si mayor, mga konsehal, napapagtagpi-tagpi pero hindi pa rin sapat para mabigyan lahat,” Palma said.(It is very painful for us. But we are using resources. We are approaching the business sector, mayor, councilors, we try to make ends meet, but it’s still not enough to provide for everyone.)

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‘Nahihirapan kami ‘pag nagsasalita ang Pangulo. Kami ang napapahamak.’YOUNG LEADER. Barangay councilor Tobit Cruz speaks before the Barangay Council in Sta Ana, Taytay, Rizal. Photo from CruzSanta Ana is the 2nd largest in the 5 expansive barangays of Taytay, Rizal. It has 36 puroks divided into 4 cluster areas. It has 120,000 residents divided into 31,000 households. Among them, around 9,000 are classified as informal settlers.

When the lockdown was declared, there was no number to guide officials to know how many needed to be fed, so they tried to go by what they saw on the ground.They saw the people coming after President Duterte made the announcement that people should go to their barangay officials.

“Nahihirapan kami ‘pag nagsasalita ang Pangulo, ang daming nakikinig. Kami ang napapahamak. Lahat ng tao literal kami ang hinahanapan ng pang-kain nila. Sabi ni Duterte kailangan pakainin ng barangay, gusto nila mapakain kaagad. Eh bago kami makalabas ng pondo, it takes a process. Baka mamaya mademanda kami

,” Santa Ana barangay councilor Tobit Cruz told Rappler in a phone interview on Tuesday, April 7.(We are having a hard time when the President speaks because a lot of people listen. We are the ones who bear the brunt of it. Everyone literally looks at us for food. Duterte said the barangay must feed them, but they want to be fed immediately. But we cannot release funds immediately. It takes a process. We might face lawsuits because of that.)

Cruz and other officials told their constituents to wait, promising that they will do what they can to provide for everyone.“During the first week, we were kind of relaxed because people seemed to find a way to provide for themselves. On the second week, people became restless,” Cruz said.

OVERTIME. Barangay personnel in Sta Ana, Taytay, Rizal convert their office into a repacking area for aid to barangay constituents. Photo from Tobit CruzThrough their disaster funds and money from realigned projects, Santa Ana officials were able to store P2.1 million in their war chest. They also got help from the municipality government and cash deposits from donors to buy vegetables.

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But as of April 7, they have given out goods to around 15,000 families only – barely half of all their constituents. None of them came from the national government.He heard from municipal officials that Taytay will have 33,000 SAC forms, but they do not know how many will be given to their barangay of 31,000 families alone.

According to the government’s guidelines, the barangays should prepare a list of all the people eligible for aid to get the total number qualified for assistance, but Cruz is worried that since the number of SAC forms had already been determined for them, not everyone who will need cash assistance will receive it.

After Cayetano’s “per household” video went viral, people again came to them. But they still did not have the forms.“Ngayon pinuputakti kami sa SAC forms. Si House Speaker Cayetano, lahat daw bibigyan. Kinabukasan, sumugod ang mga tao. Wala namang guidelines, sinabi lang na bibigyan ng pera

,” Cruz recalled.(We are getting hit for the SAC forms. House Speaker Cayetano said all would receive help. The next day, people stormed here, but there were no guidelines, they just said that people will be given money.)Cruz posted about this problem on Facebook to temper the expectations of his constituents. Supporters of the administration sent him hate messages.

“We feel so helpless in the barangay that we have limited funds. We are at the front lines but we hope that the help is more concrete. It has only created more chaos than good,” Cruz said.On top of social relief operations, barangay officials have been tasked to be the first responders for

isolating COVID-19 patients and persons under monitoring and investigation, as well as being enforcers of the lockdown with the police. Barangay Santa Ana, however, only has around 250 people to do all of this.“Given the magnitude of our responsibilities now, we would not be able to handle this without concrete support, concrete plans. They can’t just pass this on to us without supporting us,” Cruz said.

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Nung sinabi ng Presidente na dapat mga punong-barangay ang magbigay, sabi ko, 'Saan namin kukunin 'yung ibibigay?’WORK OUTSIDE. Barangay officials of Buluang, Baao, Camarines Sur work outside to validate paperwork for their social relief efforts. Photo from Alan Bolo

Alan Bolo faced a dilemma. He is the barangay captain of Buluang in the town of Baao in Camarines Sur. He had approximately 2,300 families under him, mostly disenfranchised farmers.They have not finished counting the people who are eligible for cash assistance, but they were already assigned a number of SAC forms: only 681.

On April 7, in an interview with Rappler, Bolo said he could not think of a way to distribute the cards so that all who needed help would receive it.“Mag-me-meeting pa po kami ng barangay council(We would have to meet about it with the council),” Bolo said.

Bolo’s barangay would need the financial assistance not because they have run out of money to purchase relief goods, but because they could no longer find a supplier, delaying their distribution of rice for the third week of the lockdown.“We cannot find a place to buy rice, to buy noodles, and to buy sardines,” Bolo said.

Bolo and his councilors have already given up on searching for sardines and noodles to focus on finding rice, but they still haven’t found any seller.They used to purchase from grocery stores from Naga and Iriga, but Naga has since been placed on lockdown, and supplies have already dwindled in Iriga, he said. (READ:

Farmers trash spoiled vegetables while poor go hungry)They bought rice from the National Food Authority (NFA) for the second week of the lockdown because they could no longer find rice with better quality. They did not want to purchase more because their constituents complained about the quality of the rice.

“Sana po 'yung mga constituents, sana po maintindihan nila 'yung pagod at 'yung hirap. Patuloy po nagseserbisyo ang barangay officials, sana kaunting pasensya, kaunting pag-unawa para mabigyan kami ng lakas ng loob,” he implored.(I hope our constituents understand the exhaustion and the difficulty we’re facing. We continue to serve, but we ask for more patience and understanding to strengthen our resolve.)

COMMUNITY KITCHEN. Barangay Buluang staffers cook for their constituents. Photo from Alan BoloAccording to DILG Undersecretary Jonathan Malaya, however, there was no shortage. The problem, he said, was the distribution across suppliers, saying that “it’s just that the stores they buy rice from have already lost stock.”

Past midnight on Thursday, April 9, President Duterte ordered DSWD SecretaryRolando Bautistato address the problems of implementing the social amelioration program under the Bayanihan to Heal as One Act.Bautista tossed the ball back to local government units. He said they expected local government units to have had a “profile” of people in their area ready, including the poor that would need aid under a crisis, even before the national government came up with a social relief plan.

“Dahil may kakulangan sa listahan na 'yun, nagkaroon na po ng problema(Because of deficiencies in the list, the problem arose),” Bautista explained.How should barangay captains decide whom to prioritize in distributing limited SAC forms? Malaya referred to what President Duterte said during one of his briefings: “The first ones should be the poorest of the poor.”

– Rappler.comTOP PHOTO: RELIEF PROBLEM. Volunteers repack goods in Quezon City on April 6, 2020, amid the enhanced community quarantine in Luzon due to COVID-19. Photo by Darren Langit/Rappler Read more: Rappler »

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Isolated case! Kakugihan basad aning GRAPPLER moresearch. Nigawas mo noh? Violators ha... whahaha... Mga reklamador! Aber ano ba na ambag nyo? ColmenaresPH angelaeleazar22 Ngawngaw ra mo. The distribution of relief here in our place are good and hapsay. You media should really be doing YOUR JOB. Blame blame blame we are good at its very helpful

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Typical Duterte as he only knows how to be a lapdog of XiJinping and CommunistChina, the creator and spreaders of the WuhanVirus Dyan lalabas ang pagiging magaling na lider ng 1 bgy... pabago bago man ang sistema or khit anupaman ang mangyari kayang umalinsabay. Time to prove hu u r as a lider In times like these, clear messaging is crucial for the country's survival. Unfortunately, DU30 often speaks with too much hyperbole which create confusion and major misunderstandings.

Sama sama na lang tayo mag hugas lagi ng kamay..then bomoto ng tama.

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