JUSTICE Secretary Menardo Guevarra yesterday said individuals who received financial assistance from the government amid the COVID-19 outbreak but used them in illegal drugs or gambling are already disqualified to receive future doleouts.
This was without prejudice to the filing of formal charges against them, like violation of Republic Act 9165 or Dangerous Drugs Act if they used the monetary assistance for the purchase of illegal drugs, Guevarra said.
"The cash assistance given by the government to households in dire need may be viewed as a donation subject to a condition; i.e., the condition that the cash assistance should be used to buy food and other essentials to tide the recipient over during the calamity. When the recipient violates this condition and spends the money for something else, or worse, for something illegal, the donation is forfeited and he becomes morally obligated to return the money given. In addition he makes himself ineligible to receive any further act of generosity from the giver, " Guevarra said.
"Look at the 4Ps program of the gov’t. That dole-out is subject to certain conditions, like the requirement that the minor children of the recipient family should be sent to school. If this is not complied with, the cash assistance is discontinued. Forget about refunds. malabo na yan. Mahirap nga yung tao eh. moral obligations are based on universal principles of human relations, " he continued.
Guevarra issued the statement as police continue to arrest offenders during the ongoing enhanced community quarantine (ECQ) including those caught in illegal cockfights and those using illegal drugs.
President Duterte placed the entire Luzon including Metro Manila under the enhanced community quarantine to stop the spread of the feared virus COVID-19.
A memorandum from Malacañang on the enhanced quarantine guides government agencies to ensure the following:
Prohibition of mass gatherings and imposition of strict home quarantine among all households;
Work-from-home arrangement for the executive branch;
Only essential establishments are to remain open (those private establishments providing basic necessities and such activities related to food and medicine production i.e. public markets, supermarkets, groceries, convenience stores, hospitals, medical clinics, pharmacies and drug stores, food preparation and delivery services, water-refilling stations, manufacturing and processing plants of basic food products and medicines, power energy, water and telecommunications).
Suspension of mass public transport facilities;
Restricted land, air and sea travel; and Labor, social welfare, finance, budget and trade departments to come up with programs for affected workers and businesses.