MANILA – Department of the Interior and Local Government (DILG) Secretary Eduardo Año will return to work next week after going on a three-month medical leave, an official said Friday.
“Nagpa-extend lang siya until April 15. He is okay now bagama’t siguro para hindi mabigla, baka mag work from home pa rin siya kapag nag-report siya sa April 16 (He just extended his medical until April 15. He is okay now but he might still work from home when he reports on April 16 so as not to exhaust himself),” DILG Officer in Charge Bernardo Florece told reporters on the sidelines of the distribution of emergency cash aid at Manuel L. Quezon Elementary School in Quezon City.
Año started his medical leave on January 11 this year to fully recover from the coronavirus disease 2019 (Covid-19). He extended his medical leave on February 2.
Año first tested for Covid-19 on March 3, 2020, and had undergone a second Covid-19 test on April 8 which turned out negative.
On Aug. 16, 2020, he again tested positive for the virus.
Meanwhile, Florece said they are now studying if they will extend the deadline for local government units to distribute the emergency assistance.
“May mga nag pauna na nag request ng kung puwede ma-extend pero napakaaga pa rin naman para i-approve natin ito. For example sa Quezon City, nagsabi na si Mayor Joy Belmonte na kung puwede extend natin. Naiintidihan naman natin dahil napakarami. Sabi niya kanina 2.8 million beneficiaries so ang ginagawa nila nasa 2,000 per day although simultaneous ito sa lahat ng barangays pero kung 2,000 kasi, masyadong mahirap na yung social distancing (Some have requested in advance if it can be extended but it is still too early for us to approve it. For example in Quezon City, Mayor Joy Belmonte asked that if we can extend. We understand because there are so many beneficiaries. She said 2.8 million beneficiaries so what they do is 2,000 per day although it is simultaneous in all barangays but if 2,000 because social distancing is too difficult),” he said.
This came as some local government units (LGUs) have reduced their daily target of recipients of the cash aid to prevent crowding in distribution areas.
Quezon City, the biggest LGU in Metro Manila, has received a total of PHP2,481,942,000 worth of emergency subsidy funds.
“On the average sa NCR at yung four na provinces, mga nasa 10 percent na tayo na accomplishment. Ibig sabihin 10 percent na yung naipapamahagi nila sa ating mga beneficiaries at maayos naman bagama’t meron din iba na hindi naiiwasan talaga ang social distancing pero we keep on reminding them na dapat hindi na kailangan pumunta diyan sa araw na ito kung hindi naman ikaw ang nakatakda sa this day (On average, in NCR and the four provinces, we have reached about 10-percent accomplishment. This means that they have reached a 10 percent distribution accomplishment to our beneficiaries and that’s fine, although others can’t really avoid violating social distancing, but we keep on reminding them that they don’t have to go if they are not on the list for this day),” Florece said.
Under the measure, each family member will receive PHP1,000 but only a maximum of four household members could receive it.
LGUs are tasked to publicly post the list of the beneficiaries for the cash assistance.
Local officials who will refuse to follow the mandated guidelines in the distribution of assistance will be charged with “dereliction of duty” and may face administrative cases.
Proof of posting the list of beneficiaries will be checked regularly.
The LGUs will receive a “show cause” order if they fail to comply with the distribution guidelines issued by the DILG and the Department of Social Welfare and Development. (PNA)