Pasig starts distributing subsidy, passes ordinance vs discrimination of virus cases

JC Gotinga
Pasig starts distributing subsidy, passes ordinance vs discrimination of virus cases
Adopting a similar ordinance from the City of Manila, Pasig Mayor Vico Sotto says people who harass suspected or confirmed coronavirus patients, health workers, and other frontliners will be punished

MANILA, Philippines – The Pasig City government on Saturday, April 18, passed an ordinance penalizing the discrimination of suspected or confirmed coronavirus patients and frontliners, as it began distributing the national government’s emergency subsidy to poor families.

Emergency subsidy

On Saturday morning, the local government began giving out P8,000 to each of the 93,000 Pasigueño families on the Department of Social Welfare and Development’s (DSWD) list of qualified beneficiaries of its emergency subsidy, to tide them over the economic crunch caused by the coronavirus pandemic.

It was the first half of a total P16,000 package the qualified families will receive from the national government.

Pasig Mayor Vico Sotto anticipates discrepancies in the DSWD list because it was based on a 2015 census. He said persons who have died or have since moved out of Pasig will be deleted from the list – but that would only be found out during the distribution process.

The distribution will take about a week, Sotto said, after which the local government will roll out its own supplemental emergency subsidy for resident families excluded from the DSWD’s roster.

Pasig City has earmarked more than P1.2 billion to give some 160,000 Pasigueño families a one-time handout of P8,000.

Although all families residing in Pasig are entitled to the supplemental subsidy, Sotto expects the well-off to waive their share for the sake of needier residents.

In a briefing on social media on Thursday, Sotto said the distribution of the supplemental subsidy will skip affluent gated communities such as the Valle Verde subdivisions. Residents of these areas may contact the local government should they decide to claim their share of the subsidy. 

Sotto clarified that families enrolled in the Pantawid Pamilyang Pilipino Program, the government’s conditional cash transfer program for destitute Filipinos, will automatically receive the national government’s emergency subsidy.

Anti-discrimination ordinance

Also on Saturday, the Pasig City Council passed an ordinance prohibiting the discrimination of people suspected or confirmed to have infectious diseases, and of workers in front line services catering to patients of such illnesses.

Sotto said Pasig adopted the ordinance recently passed by the City of Manila, which punishes shaming, humiliating, or harassing patients, suspected cases, and frontliners with a fine of P5,000, or 6 months’ imprisonment, or both. The same penalties now apply to Pasig.

Sotto tweeted a photo of the ordinance’s title, “An ordinance prohibiting any person from committing any act which causes stigma, disgrace, shame, humiliation, harassment, or otherwise discriminating against a person infected, under investigation or monitoring due to infectious diseases or emerging and re-emerging infectious diseases, as well as against public and private doctors, nurses, health workers, emergency personnel and volunteers, service workers who are assigned to hospitals or other centers where these persons are being treated, and other front liners, and providing penalty therefor.”

The ordinance covers all forms of discrimination, including on social media, Sotto said. – Rappler.com

JC Gotinga

JC Gotinga often reports about the West Philippine Sea, the communist insurgency, and terrorism as he covers national defense and security for Rappler. He enjoys telling stories about his hometown, Pasig City. JC has worked with Al Jazeera, CNN Philippines, News5, and CBN Asia.