MANILA, Philippines – Private organizations who want to distribute relief goods or other forms of assistance must secure a certification from the local government unit they are going to, the Department of Interior and Local Government (DILG) said on Saturday, April 25.
Failure to present this certification to authorities means the group will be blocked at checkpoints.
This was explained by DILG Spokesman Undersecretary Jonathan Malaya in the virtual Laging Handa press briefing on Saturday.
“(DILG) Secretary Eduardo Año issued an order that all relief organizations must show a certification from the LGU (local government unit), that they coordinated with the LGU to give away relief goods,” he said in Filipino.
“Ask for a certification from city hall and this is what you show police in the checkpoints. If you have this, they will let you go through,” Malaya added.
The DILG said that some private citizens supposedly claim to be conducting relief drives just to get past checkpoints, despite lockdown measures ordering the general population to stay at home to stem the spread of the coronavirus disease.
Malaya said some motorists would display signs on their vehicle’s windows that say “do not delay” or “relief organization” despite lacking documents proving they are exempt from quarantine rules.
He reiterated that food passes issued by agencies to food industry players to ensure smooth movement of their goods don’t qualify as passes for relief distribution.
Malaya referred to an incident in Bulacan where members of the labor group Anakpawis were detained after distributing relief goods to their members. The group presented a food pass issued by the Bureau of Fisheries and Aquatic Resources to PAMALAKAYA, a fishers’ rights group.
Former Anakpawis congressman Ariel Casilao and several relief volunteers were eventually charged with violating Republic Act 11332 or the Mandatory Reporting of Notifiable Diseases and Health Events of Public Health Concern Act. However, they were also charged with inciting to sedition.
The group questioned these charges, saying none of their actions were meant to foment rebellion or resistance to the government. – Rappler.com