A timely warning

April 25, 2020

THE government cannot afford to have hungry Filipinos at a time when people across the world are buffeted by various problems, including the coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) pandemic.

And the administration has been spending billions of pesos to meet the needs of people affected by the imposition of the enhanced community quarantine (ECQ) in Luzon and other parts of the country.

But what is certainly disgusting, lamentable and revolting to the senses is the fact that there are unscrupulous beneficiaries of the national government’s big-budgeted social amelioration program.

That’s why we, like other well-meaning Filipinos, commend Justice Secretary Menardo Guevarra for warning beneficiaries, who use the cash assistance to purchase shabu and other illegal drugs.

Reports said other beneficiaries, men and women, were apprehended while gambling not only in the metropolis but elsewhere, drawing the ire of government authorities.

Guevarra said erring beneficiaries are disqualified to receive future government doleouts.

Of course, this is without prejudice to the filing of formal charges against them, like violation of Republic Act (RA) No. 9165 or the Dangerous Drugs Act, according to Secretary Guevarra.

The cash assistance to households in dire need may be viewed as a donation subject to certain conditions.

One of the conditions provides that the dole out should be used to buy food and other basic necessities to tide the beneficiaries over during the enhanced community quarantine.

An erring beneficiary is morally obligated to return the money. In addition, he/she makes himself/herself ineligible to receive any further act of generosity from the government.

Thus, beneficiaries would do well to heed Guevarra’s warning, described by many as “timely.”