The Department of the Interior and Local Government today warned against the use of a politician’s name, photo, or image in the distribution of the “ayuda” or financial assistance to be given by the National Government to NCR Plus areas covered by Enhanced Community Quarantine.
The Department of the Interior and Local Government (DILG) and the Department of Social Welfare and Development (DSWD) recently issued the guidelines for the distribution of financial assistance of P1,000 per individual, with a maximum of P4,000 per family, to residents affected by the Enhanced Community Quarantine in NCR, Bulacan, Cavite, Laguna, and Rizal or the “NCR Plus area” after President Duterte approved the release of P22.9-billion to affected individuals.
“The use of the ayuda for partisan political purposes for the 2022 national elections is strictly prohibited. The DILG will not tolerate the politicization of government aid or tolerate the practice when we see it or made aware of it,” said DILG Undersecretary and Spokesperson Jonathan Malaya.
He said that violators shall be held liable under Section 82 of the General Appropriations Act which prohibits the use of the name, visage, appearance, logo, signature, or any other analogous image of any public official, whether elected or appointed, on all programs, activities, and projects of the government.
Administrative charges under COA Circular 2013-004 may also be filed against public officials violating the said prohibition. The said COA Circular also prohibits the display of pictures, images, logos, initials, or any other graphic representation of the implementing officials in all government programs and projects.
He said that the public may file complaints with the nearest DILG field office together with photos and other documentary evidence in support of the complaint.
Malaya assured the public that safeguards are in place to ensure that the funds will get to the intended beneficiaries and that there is an appeals process in the LGU where people can submit their complaints.
“We will make sure that the funds downloaded to the LGUs are used for purposes they were intended for. Before distribution, the mayor should issue an executive order detailing therein the type, manner, or process of distribution so that the public is properly guided. They are also required to create a Grievance and Appeals Committee per LGU where people can submit complaints,” he said.
“The LGU Grievance and Appeals Committee shall handle all complaints from the public with dispatch,” he added.
Malaya said that they will also create a Joint Monitoring and Inspection Team in each LGU headed by the DILG City/Municipal Local Government Operations Offer and representatives from DSWD, PNP, City or Provincial Prosecutors Office, and civil society organizations (CSOs).
According to Malaya, the Joint Monitoring and Inspection Teams (JMIT) will address complaints or grievances from their constituents concerning the financial aid, monitor LGU compliance with applicable guidelines, seek the assistance of higher authorities in case of undue delay or systemic anomalies in the distribution, and cause the filing of administrative or criminal cases against public officials or individuals involved in irregular or unlawful practices relative to said financial aid.
He said as part of the JMIT, the PNP will immediately investigate and do case build-up on reported cases of anomalies, irregularities, or graft and corruption concerning the aid distribution.