Solon urges KISS in releasd of cash aid

TO avoid bureaucratic red tape, a progressive party-list lawmaker on Sunday urged the government to adopt KISS or Keep It Short and Simple system in the release of P5,000 to P8,000 cash aid to each of the 18 million low income households, stressing “what good is the grass if the horse is already dead.”

Gabriela Rep. Arlene Brosas underscored the need to spare the “Heal as One Act of 2020" or Republic Act (RA) No. 11469 from red tape in heeding the emergency needs of Filipinos affected by the enhanced community quarantine (ECQ) in Luzon.

"Aanhin pa ang damo kung patay na ang kabayo? Pasimplehin natin na natin ito. Ibigay na nang buong ang P8,000 sa 18 milyong pamilyang nangangailangan ng kagyat na ayuda. Sense of urgency and compassion to the poor must prevail during this national state of emergency.

Otherwise, baka sa gutom pa mamatay ang ating mga kababayan at hindi sa COVID-19," said Brosas.

"Wag na nating hintaying mabuo ang database ng 18 milyong pamilya mula sa lahat ng barangay bago magprint ng cash cards at mamahagi ng ayuda. Simulan na ang release ng cash aid by waves or batches kada bayan o syudad habang itinatala ang covered families," Brosas.

The law provides for the distribution of an emergency subsidy to around 18 million low income households in the amount not lower than P5,000.00 or not higher than P8,000.00 a month for two months, computed based on the prevailing regional minimum wage rates.

Brosas said that while LGUs are already distributing food packs, these are not enough to cover those who have yet to be reached by the assistance. Several families are already demanding emergency food aid.

She also cautioned that using the database of barangay-registered citizens may unduly discriminate those who hailed from the provinces but who are currently stuck in their locality of work. She said the supposed complementary nature of social amelioration with the existing 4Ps program might also complicate the process.

"We strongly ask the DSWD to streamline the mechanisms for the implementation of social amelioration program in such a way that it will be expeditious and inclusive. Ituring na hiwalay na programa ang 4Ps para hindi na magkwenta pa ng balanse na tatanggapin ng isang pamilya," said Brosas.

Gabriela Women's Party is asking the DSWD to immediately publicize the guidelines and the memorandum circular on the social amelioration program, as the government is set to submit its first weekly report on the implementation of the Bayanihan to Heal as One Act.

House Deputy Minority Leader and Bayan Muna party-list Rep. Carlos Isagani Zarate called out the Department of Health (DoH) for "degrading the value of the services of volunteer doctors, nurses and other health workers with a measly P500 daily compensation in the fight against CoViD 19."

"Truth be told I think that most health workers are willing to give their services for free but in return, the Duterte administration should be very transparent on how they will spend the billions of funds that Congress authorize and already in its disposal," said Zarate.

"If there are already 600 volunteer doctors, nurses and other health workers, then better hire them for the period of emergency. Even if you compensate them the maximum of 50,000 per month, it will only amount P60 million for two months, which the government can certainly provide," said Zarate.

"As it is there are still no mass testing in communities identified with COVID 19 cases. There are still no pro-active community tracing.

There so many hospitals calling for masks and personal protective equipment (PPEs). People in communities are now getting hungry because we are now entering the third week of the lockdown but relief goods have not reached them," said the Davao-based solon.

"We already lost a lot of time after the first COVID case in the country was identified and the DoH dilly dallying as admitted himself by Sec. Francisco Duque but up till now the mainly militaristic response is not suited for this type of crisis. They should let those with expertise in handling such outbreaks take the lead," said Zarate

Albay Rep. Edcel Lagman said the valiant efforts of the Philippine health authorities, private health facilities, healthcare frontlines and local government officials against the COVID-19 pandemic must be immediately complemented with more test kits, supplies and equipment reduce the country’s mortality rate which is at a high of 6.32%.

As positive cases increase in the provinces, Lagman underscored the need for test kits, personal protective equipment, face masks, sanitary gloves, ventilators, medicines and allied supplies becomes more urgent nationwide like in the Bicol Region where the zero positive incidence has been breached with four confirmed cases.

Lagman said the novel coronavirus mortality rate is the percentage of deaths out of the total confirmed or positive cases.

In order to reduce the country’s high death rate, Lagman said there is immediate need for the government to undertake the following: (1) Maximize the procurement of accurate test kits and other requisite supplies and equipment for distribution to all medical facilities, including those located in the various regions and provinces;

(2) Increase the number of DOH-accredited testing facilities nationwide to assure early, fast and efficient testing before the medical condition of the patient deteriorates to the point of death;

(3) Provide the necessary information to local government officials as to the whereabouts and status of PUIs, PUMs and positive cases in their localities in order to facilitate contact tracing even as their identities are protected;

(4)  Intensify information and compliance with community quarantine, social distancing, and sanitary protocols; and

(5) Emphasize that personal quarantine is for self-protection and to prevent transmission, but social distancing and community quarantine must be observed to further prevent the spread of the virus and minimize getting infected.

“With 1,075 patients positive for the novel coronavirus and 68 deaths as of 28 March 2020, the mortality rate of the Philippines is 6.32% compared to the worldwide death rate of 4.65% with 30,851 deaths out of 662,857 patients who have tested positive for the virus,” said Lagman.

“The top 15 afflicted Asian countries have an average mortality rate of 2.52%, while the top 12 countries worldwide have an average death rate of 3.80%, compared to the Philippines’ 6.32%. The Johns Hopkins University & Medicine Corona Virus Research Center tracks down the worldwide daily data on the contagion,” said Lagman.

In Asia, with exception of Iran and Indonesia, Lagman said the Philippines has the highest death rate compared to Qatar with 590 confirmed cases and one death or a mortality rate of 0.17%; Singapore with 802 confirmed cases and two deaths or a mortality rate 0.25%;

Thailand with 1,245 confirmed cases and six deaths or a mortality rate of 0.48%; Malaysia with 2,320 confirmed cases and 27 deaths or a mortality rate of 1.16%; South Korea with 9,478 confirmed cases and 144 deaths or a mortality rate of 1.52%; and China with Hong Kong with 81,999 confirmed cases and 3,299 deaths or a mortality rate of 4.02%.

Worldwide, not counting Italy, Spain and Iran, Lagman said the Philippines registers the biggest percentage of casualties, and even more than China’s 4.02%.

Outside of Asia, Lagman said the countries with the lowest death rates are Germany with 57,695 confirmed cases and 433 deaths or a mortality rate of 0.75%; the United States with 122,666 confirmed cases and 2,147 deaths or a mortality rate of 1.75%; and Switzerland with 14,076 confirmed cases and 264 deaths or a mortality rate of 1.87%.