DILG warns politicians vs. use of name, image in cash aid distribution

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Metro Manila (CNN Philippines, April 3) — The Department of the Interior and Local Government has warned politicians against using their names and images in the distribution of ₱22.9 billion financial assistance for those affected by the enhanced community quarantine.

"The use of the ayuda (assistance) for partisan political purposes for the 2022 national elections is strictly prohibited," DILG Spokesperson Jonathan Malaya said. "The DILG will not tolerate the politicization of government aid or tolerate the practice when we see it or made aware of it."

The agency and the Department of Social Welfare and Development already issued the guidelines for the distribution of cash to Filipinos affected by the ECQ, specifically in areas under the so-called NCR Plus. Generally, a beneficiary will receive ₱1,000 under the program, with a maximum of ₱4,000 per family.

A list of beneficiaries, including those from low-income households, members of the vulnerable sector, and those greatly affected by the strict quarantine measure, has been also provided to local governments.

Malaya said violators will be held liable under Section 82 of the General Appropriations Act, which prohibits the use of the name, appearance, logo, signature, among others, of a public official, whether elected or appointed, on all projects of the government. They may also face administrative charges under Commission on Audit Circular 2013-004 that also prohibits display of any graphic representation of implementing officials in all government programs, he added.

The Interior undersecretary assured the public safeguards are put in place to ensure funds will be given to intended beneficiaries.

Local chief executives were also tasked to issue an executive order regarding details on the process of distribution and were required to create their Grievance and Appeals Committee where the public can submit complaints, Malaya said.

A separate Joint Monitoring and Inspection Team per local government unit will be also formed. This will be led by the local DILG operations officer and representatives from the DSWD, the Philippine National Police, the local prosecutor's office, and civil society organizations.

This team will address the complaints raised by the public regarding cash aid, monitor compliance of their LGU, raise issues related to delay or anomalies in distribution to higher authorities, and cause the filing of cases against violators.

Malaya said the PNP will be tasked to investigate and do a case build-up on reported cases of irregularities in the distribution of assistance.