Friday, June 5, 2020
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All expenses paid for returning San Jose residents under “Camarines Sur Balik Probinsiya”, says mayor Dr. Chavez

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San Jose residents who were stranded in Metro Manila during the lockdown arrived Saturday, May 23, with the help of San Jose Local Government and the Provincial Capitol.

The arriving “Balik banwaan”, all thirteen of them, belonged to the 6th batch, said San Jose Mayor Dr. Marco Chavez MD, thanking the Camarines Sur Governor for the use of the rented bus.

They were sent to a LGU quarantine facility already prepared for returning residents.

Mayor Dr. Chavez MD said the local government provides free food and medical check-ups, and adequate amenities to persons under mandatory quarantine.

“As of Saturday, a total of 130 persons are now quartered at the quarantine facility, many were fetched by vehicles provided by the Camarines Sur Provincial Government,” Mayor Dr. Chavez MD said.

Meanwhile, 30 persons had “graduated” or discharged from quarantine Saturday and they were given “pabaon” of P3100 as TUPAD beneficiaries of DOLE through the efforts of the Governor.

During the awarding of cash aid at the San Jose National HS, the Governor gave the “pabaon”.

With the Governor, assisting the awarding event were Mayor Dr. Mac Chavez and former Mayor Tony Chavez, who is regional coordinator of “Balik Probinsiya”, “Bagong Pag-asa or BP2” program of Malacañang.

Mayor Dr. Chavez MD said the LGU has received rapid testing kits, an assurance that San Jose contituents can access rapid testing if they suspect they get exposures from Covid19 cases.

“Frontliners and staff were already given rapid testing,” Mayor Dr. Chavez MD said. [Bicol Today]

SWS Hunger survey shows SAP poorly implemented, observes Infrawatch PH

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The government’s Social Amelioration Program (SAP) was poorly implemented, says a think tank group on Sunday.

The group, familar on the poverty field, had helped marginalized families file appeals for SAP inclusion.

The poor SAP implementation was validated by the Social Weather Station survey indicating rising hunger during the coronavirus crisis.

“The SWS hunger survey provides government the imperative to rethink its social protection programs as we ease lockdowns around the country. Despite almost all respondents receiving government aid, a 16.7 percent hunger index indicates that the aid did not reach beneficiaries in time to prevent involuntary hunger. This confirms observations in many communities that bureaucratic hurdles had stymied the immediate delivery of emergency assistance to marginalized families. As we anticipate the next waves of outbreak, a thorough impact and process evaluation of social protection programs should be on the agenda.”

This was the observation of Terry Ridon, Infrawatch PH convenor, and former urban poor chief of the Duterte administration.

Disqualified yet qualified

Ridon said the more than fifty SAP appeals his group submitted to DSWD provides an ‘objective random sample’ on the manner of SAP implementation at the national and local levels.

“Many qualified families were disqualified in their communities on the basis of the subjective metrics by local officials, instead of implementing the guidelines of the DSWD. As an example, entire barangays were disqualified by a local government, as these were perceived as ‘middle class barangays.’”

Ridon also said that families were disqualified on the basis of not being voters in the communities where they lived.

“As a result, stranded workers, distressed OFWs and many other vulnerable families were outrightly disqualified. But voting status was never a basis for disqualification based on DSWD guidelines. So why do it?”

Ridon also said that social workers depended on the listing submitted by local officials, without actually verifying whether there were other families left out.

“While it is true that local officials know their constituencies best, but this also allows subjective local sentiments to influence a supposedly objective beneficiary list. One report indicated that due to issues with a purok leader who was making the SAP list, one family did not make the list. Families should not go hungry just because local officials made the subjective decision not to make them beneficiaries.”

Difficult appeals

Ridon said the appeals mechanism has been largely difficult, as it was circuitous and slow to act on appeals.

“While credit should be given on the good work done by DSWD national officials on facilitating our appeals, there is a wide berth for improving the appeals process for vulnerable families.”

Ridon said his group had expected a national or regional level mechanism to resolve appeals submitted by families disqualified at the local level.

“However, the appeals was basically an endorsement mechanism from national to regional and back to local social welfare offices, back to the same local level which rejected the families in the first place.”

Ridon said the endorsement mechanism was very slow. Twenty-four appeals took more than twenty days from submission for the social welfare department to acknowledge receipt and subsequently endorse to the same to regional offices.

“This indicates that the appeals process lack the sufficient staff complement to urgently address all appeals reaching their office. As we ease the lockdown, the social welfare department should look into employing more personnel to focus on the appeals mechanism. Because certainly, twenty days to act on appeals is unacceptable by any measure. Families would have certainly gone hungry if this is the pace at which appeals are addressed.” [Bicol Today]

Naga City hall helps “van man” after social media uproar from Atty. Macaraig, netizens calling for “compassion”

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By Joey Natividad

(UPDATED) After a lot of brouhaha was raised by local netizens led by civic leader Atty. Areiz Macaraig, demanding “compassion” from Naga City Hall over the pathetic plight of a returning Nagueño traveller, recuperating from surgery, who was left lying cramped up inside his L300 van, city officials finally intervened on Sunday.

“Charlie” now identified as Marvin Clarito by City officials, was transferred to Our Lady of Lourdes Infirmary, where he would be given medical attention.

On Sunday morning, Naga Mayor Nelson Legacion ordered Clarito’s transfer to the health center.

Clarito, with two companions, arrived in Naga City from Bataan on Saturday morning, despite lacking travel papers were allowed entry by border frontliners and were directed to a quarantine facility.

Clarito is recuperating from surgery on his hack wounds he got in Bataan, and has braces, can barely move. The photo of him cramped up inside a L300 van under quarantine had caused an uproar among netizens, led by lawyer Macaraig who called the attention of City Hall to give “compassion” to a Nagueño in distress.

Other netizens joined the clamor, suggesting that the injured man be brought to the hospital, and that Saturday night, Atty. Macaraig visited the patient who was still inside the van parked under a manggo tree, without a bed offered from the quarantine facility.

On Sunday morning, Naga Mayor Nelson Legacion with Dr. Joseph Sanchez and City Hall officer Frank Mendoza visited Clarito and convinced him to be transferred to Our Lady of Lourdes Infirmary where he will be under quarantine and recuperate from his surgery.

Dr. Sanchez, an orthopedic surgeon, will be checking on him. [Bicol Today]

Motorcycle rider dies after hit by car, ran over by trailer truck in Sorsogon

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IROSIN, Sorsogon Province – Luck had ran out for a motorcycle rider in Sorsogon Province that after getting hit by an onrushing car, he was thrown away on the opposite lane and was ran over by a speeding trailer-truck and died.

Police investigation disclosed that at about 07:15 PM of Saturday night {May 23, 2020}, at Barangay San Pedro, Irosin, Sorsogon, a motorcycle rider named Joan Guelas Futo, 24 years old, single, resident of Barangay Buenavista, same town, got hit by an Innova and ran over by a trailer truck that resulted to his death.

Witnesses told police investigators, the motorcycle, driven by victim Futo was experiencing mechanical failure in the junction towards Irosin District Hospital.

While Futo tried fixing his motorcycle, and when it functioned, he accelerated towards the lane of southbound direction where the Innova vehicle hit him.

The Innova driven by Darius Namayan Estrella, 48 years old, married, driver and resident of 2361 P. Dela Cruz Martinville Subdivision, Las Piñas City, was approaching from Sorsogon City traversing southbound direction en route to Matnog, Sorsogon, and upon reaching the place of incident, accidentally hit the motorcycle causing the driver to be thrown away and fell on the opposite lane, his motorcycle getting dragged 71 meters farther.

Still lying on the road, the victim was ran over by an onrushing Trailer Truck driven by Rogelio Lozano Palayo, 43 years old, married, driver and a resident of Doña Mercedes, Guinobatan, Albay while enroute to Sorsogon City.

Details of the accident report were given to Police Major Arwin D. Destacamento, Chief of Police of Irosin Municipal Police Station, and furnished to Police Colonel Roqua A. Bausa, Acting Provincial Director of Sorsogon PPO.

Bystanders brought the accident victim to the Irosin District Hospital, but he was pronounced Dead On Arrival by the attending physician.

Suspects and vehicles involved were under the custody of Irosin MPS for proper disposition.

Milk for children pour into lockdown village in Tigaon, Camarines Sur

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By Joey Natividad

(UPDATED) Calling on Wednesday for good Samaritans to donate milk for children in locked-down Barangay May-Anao, Barangay Captain Sonny Casasis Bongat happily announced that boxes of milk for children arrived Saturday, May 23.

Barangay May-Anao, Tigaon, Camarines Sur is under total lockdown after Health authorities discovered a resident infected with Covid19.

The boxes of milk came from Congresswoman Marissa Andaya {1st District, Camarines Sur}, wife of former Congressman Rolando Andaya.

On Wednesday, May 20, Bongat aired his concern for donations of milk for children in the barangay which has 950 households, a sizeable percentage belonging to Tigaon’s urban poor.

The following day, Thursday, online news Bicol Today reported Bongat’s concern for more milk.

The village has been receiving donations of various foodstuff, mostly consisting of rice, canned goods, and noodles, but milk for children are few.

On his video report via Facebook, Bongat specified that milk for 0 to 2 years old children are urgent as lockdown families are suffering difficulties.

Appreciating the donated milk, Bongat said the children will get their share of milk, hoping that more milk donations will come.

Meanwhile, PAGCOR thru its Chief Operating Officer/President Atty. Alfredo Lim, gave sizeable volume of foodstuff to the village on Friday.

Ramon Ang of San Miguel Corporation gave hundreds of pieces of whole chicken for barangay residents.

Private donations also poured in, coming from Joel Brutas of Rose Computer; Dane Natalia Supermarket; Nora Prieto, Seloy Bautista, Jerick Cama and family, Allan Clariño, Cesar Lee, Adith Tam, Rey Clariño, Mean Plazo, Bongulto family, Charry Dancil Dacuba, Efren Plazo and family and others who remained anonymous.

Goa Mayor Marcel Pan gave 20 sacks of rice.

Lagonoy Mayor JB Pilapil, Presentacion Mayor Manghai Delena, Sagñay Mayor Jovi Fuentebella, and Poblacion Barangay Captain Tess Pilapil with 22 barangay captains also gave assistance.

The Local Government of Tigaon under Mayor Chiqui Fuentebella has been sending foodstuff, while Congressman Arnie Fuentebella also contributed rice and canned goods.

Board member Awel Llaguno with Seagull Gun Club also donated, and DSWD-MSWD gave the usual food relief assistance.

Civic leader Macaraig to Naga City Hall: Give compassion to injured man in van under quarantine

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By Joey Natividad

A man from Bataan returning home to Naga City, Camarines Sur, still recuperating from surgery, was sent directly for quarantine, not to a hospital, by checkpoint frontliners Saturday morning, and when night fell, he was still holed up inside an L300 van.

Charlie (not his real name) is still recuperating from body injuries and with braces that he could barely move.

He was not redirected to a hospital, but frontliners left him lying cramped up inside his vehicle while undergoing quarantine.

His pathetic situation has caused netizens to call City Hall officials to show more “compassion” for a Naga native in distress.

Civic leader Atty. Areiz Macaraig called the attention of City Hall authorities, thru social media, to give compassion to “Charlie”, a Nagueño, who just arrived from Bataan.

On Saturday night, the patient is still inside the L-300 van, said Atty. Macaraig, who visited and brought him some items.

“He should have been given a bed to sleep on,” said the lawyer.

“Charlie” was feeling depressed after authorities told him he would be turned back to Bataan for allegedly travelling to Naga without the necessary travel permits and IATF, PNP clearances.

This angered lawyer Macaraig, as mentioned in his FB posts, who told authorities to show compassion for “Charlie”, a Nagueño, who has the right to return home to his residence and not to be shooed back to Bataan.

The quarantine facility is in Barangay Carolina, an upland village near the Mount Isarog foothills.

Other Naga netizens insisted that “Charlie” should have been redirected to a hospital for his wounds.

A City Hall checkpoint frontliner earlier insisted that “Charlie” left Bataan without the necessary clearances, such as travel passes and IATF and PNP approval.

Reds extend ceasefire until April 30, fighters ordered “on defensive, stop fighting mode”

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LEGAZPI CITY, 16April2020 — Despite a shaky ceasefire with both sides accusing each other of mounting combat operations amid the coronavirus pandemic, the underground Communist Party of the Philippines (CPP) ordered yesterday its armed wing, New People’s Army (NPA) to extend the nationwide ceasefire for 15 more days to “prioritize the fight against the pandemic and ensure the safety, health and well-being of everyone.”

In its order posted Thursday, April 16, at the CPP’s website, the CPP Central Committee extended to 11:59 p.m. of April 30 its earlier ceasefire declaration which started on March 25.

The CPP ordered the units of the NPA and the people’s militias “to continue to desist and cease from carrying out offensive military actions against the armed units and personnel of the Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP), Philippine National Police (PNP) and other paramilitary and armed groups attached to the Government of the Republic of the Philippines (GRP).”

The aim of the ceasefire extension, according to the Party CC, “is to ensure quick and unimpeded support to all people requiring urgent medical, health and socioeconomic assistance in the face of the public emergency over the Covid-19 pandemic.”

The Party said all revolutionary forces are “ever ready to cooperate with all other forces and elements to achieve this objective.”

It also reiterated the call for the “urgent release” of all political prisoners and for declaring a general amnesty. It also expressed desire for the resumption of the NDFP-GRP peace negotiations.

It commended all units of the people’s army and people’s militias for their discipline in observing the ceasefire order and shifting priority to the anti-Covid-19 campaign.

It said that the Party’s ceasefire order has been observed “despite the difficulties and dangers brought about by the continuing occupation of AFP combat troops of guerrilla zones and base areas, the widespread and intense intelligence and psywar operations, and the attacks mounted by the AFP’s strike forces against detected NPA units.”

The CPP reminded all NPA units to “maintain strictest secrecy” and not allow themselves to be exposed to AFP attacks.

The recent armed encounters which the AFP misreport as NPA ceasefire violations are results of the offensive actions of the AFP.

During the ceasefire period, all NPA units must strictly limit themselves to active defense operations which shall be carried out only in the face of imminent danger and actual armed attacks by the enemy forces.

Church group worries over quarantine extension amid government inefficiency

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“Feed the hungry, and help those in trouble. Then your light will shine out from the darkness, and the darkness around you will be as bright as noon.” Isaiah 58:10

The National Council of Churches in the Philippines (NCCP) is deeply concerned about the two-week extension of the enhanced community quarantine (ECQ) in Luzon.

“We are worried that greater vulnerabilities will surface that will put the poor majority into further suffering – hunger, paranoia, and the socio-psychological effects of quarantine. Things that could have been prevented by a well-planned and timely response,” said leading members of NCCP.

“The provision of food was the most evident difficulty that was observable during the first three weeks of ECQ,” NCCP observed.

“While we laud the provision of DSWD’s Social Amelioration Fund for the poor and the support to the affected workers from DOLE’s COVID-19 Adjustment Measure Program,” NCCP continued, “misinformation, incoherence of data, and the lack of clear guidelines on the distribution have further delayed the already snail-paced and bureaucratic implementation of the emergency assistance”.

The NCCP statement was signed by Rev. Felipe B. Ehican, Jr., Chairperson; The Rt. Rev. Joel O. Porlares, Vice Chairperson; Dra. Gay B. Manondon, Vice Chairperson; Ms. Ma. Kay Catherine F. Almario, Vice Chairperson; and, Bishop Reuel Norman O. Marigza, General Secretary.

MEDICAL SOLUTION, NOT MILITARISTIC SOLUTION

“We are also disturbed over the government’s militaristic approach and its fixation on arrests and imprisonment in a time of a public health crisis,” NCCP declared.

The group continued: “More than twenty thousand have been arrested by the police and military from March 17 to April 5, even more than the number of COVID tests conducted to date.”

“Arresting and putting them in crammed spaces defeats the purpose of social distancing. The remarks “Shoot them dead” and “No mercy” coming from the current administration has turned this crisis into a spectacle of persecution of the poor.”

NCCP cautioned “The United Nations pointed out that “a state of emergency, or any other security measures, should be guided by human rights principles and should not, in any circumstances, be an excuse to quash dissent.”

RELEASE OF POLITICAL PRISONERS

“We also say again our plea to the government to release, on humanitarian grounds, the sick, elderly, and the prisoners of conscience who have been wrongfully incarcerated because of their political beliefs, especially the pregnant women and nursing mothers.”

The 394% congestion rate in detention facilities poses grave, potential and unmanageable consequences should a single detainee be infected.

“It is our hope that the government will heed the call of the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights to urgently address the catastrophic risk,” NCCP said.

FOOD FOR ALL UNDER LOCKDOWN

In the light of the extended ECQ, the NCCP reiterated its call for a more prompt, efficient, and relevant implementation of service delivery – that is transparent and free from politicking – to ensure the well-being of the people.

“It is imperative that aside from the containment of the spread of COVID-19, which is also contingent on effective mass testing, the vulnerable people are provided with what they need in order for them to stay at home in these critical times.”

NCCP continued: “The government must expedite the process of the distribution of additional food and cash assistance as the situation of millions of vulnerable families might worsen under the extended lockdown.”

“Moreover, the government must have a more comprehensive and strategic plan that will address the public health concern and socio-economic implications of the COVID-19 pandemic.”

1 NPA dead in Sorsogon clash

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PILI, Camarines Sur- A fighter of the New People’s Army (NPA) was killed in an encounter with state troops in Sorsogon Province on Thursday morning (April 16).

According to an initial report from Camp Elias Angeles, the 9th Infantry Division headquarters in this town, a shoot-out occured between Army troops and an NPA group in Sitio Tongdol, Barangay Gabao, Irosin, Sorsogon. The clash happened about 7:40 in the morning, Thursday, April 16.

However, the NPA command in Sorsogon Province has not issued a statement regarding the Army-reported incident.

According to Army report, joint elements of 31st Infantry Battalion (31IB), 1st and 2nd Provincial Mobile Force Company were conducting security operations in response to a report about the gathering of NPA fighters in the area when the clash broke out.

The firefight lasted for ten minutes before the NPA fighters scampered towards different directions, leaving their dead comrade behind.

One M16 rifle, several anti-personnel mines, and other subversive equipment and supplies were recovered in the encounter site.

Hot pursuit by Army troops is still on-going.

Joint Task Force Bicolandia (JTFB) under MGen Fernando T. Trinidad AFP commended the troops for the successful operation.

The Sorsogon NPA has not confirmed if it suffered a casualty.

20 CADAVERS IN QUEZON CITY HOSPITAL, STILL NOT COVID-19 DEATHS DUE TO ABSENCE OF LAB RESULTS 

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QUEZON CITY — Strict definition of COVID-19 deaths according to DOH protocol has hampered final description of the 20 cadavers piling up in a hospital in Quezon City, either as COVID-19 deaths, or deaths from other diseases.

Only East Avenue Medical Center {EAMC} in Quezon City was reported so far of having 20 cadavers that have piled up due to lack of sufficient equipment, a freezer to store dead bodies from COVID-19 infections.

There are no reports from other hospitals of similar situation with EAMC, a situation whom medical experts say “might occur if the health system collapsed as more bodies started piling up daily, feeding the pipeline.”

According to EAMC, “that so far, none of the bodies have tested positive for COVID-19, saying that they will wait for test results to know if they have the virus – hence they are considered as persons under investigation (PUIs).”

This was admitted by EAMC on Black Saturday, one of the country’s major hospitals involved in the fight against COVID-19 saying, “bodies have ‘piled up’ in the hallway of its morgue facility.

According to EAMC, its morgue could only handle 5 cadavers.

The number of deaths nationwide has been rising steadily whom the Health department recorded as 247 deaths, which was added by 26 new fatalties as of Saturday. DOH has posted total of 4428 COVID infections, with an additional 233 new infections on Saturday.

With the strict definition of a “COVID-19 death”, a PUI who died, owing to lack of final laboratory result, is classified as death of a PUI, adding confusion to data compiled under “COVID-19 deaths”.

EAMC is the hospital referred to by Arnold Clavio, television newscaster, when he posted in Instagram about an {alleged} DOH order to hospitals to stop counting COVID deaths, a posting that had went viral on Black Saturday, prompting DOH Secretary Duque to issue a denial.

EAMC admitted the twenty cadavers have not been picked up by relatives or Health personnel for cremation, but because of the media expose, the bodies had been picked up with only six cadavers waiting for pick up as of Saturday afternoon.

Bad stench had filled up the hospital surroundings coming from some of the cadavers.

The hospital made the confirmation after Clavio posted on his Instagram account ‪Saturday morning‬ about what was allegedly going on inside a hospital in Metro Manila.

Under Section 4.6 of the Interior Department’s guidelines for handling PUI and COVID-19 deaths, local governments “shall designate and commission reputable funeral parlors and crematoriums to handle the remains of confirmed COVID-19 cases and PUIs.” They are also mandated to shoulder logistical, fuel, and salary expenses involved in the process.