Lucena mayor slams “political virus"

April 29, 2020
City police chief, Lt. Col. Romulo Albacea
City police chief, Lt. Col. Romulo Albacea and Lucena City Disaster Risk Reduction Management Council head personally supervise the SAP distribution at the barangays outside the city proper to avoid the similar incident. (Photo by Gemi Formaran)

LUCENA CITY--- The mayor of this city cried foul over the continuing attacks perpetrated by his political adversaries and critics in connection with the ongoing distribution of Social Amelioration Program (SAP) to some 51,000 beneficiaries here despite the prevailing global pandemic.

City Mayor Roderick Alcala is referring to derogatory remarks being hurled against him and his administration via social  media apparently aimed at destroying his image and leadership.

Photos of the SAP distribution showing thousands of city residents, many of them not observing social distancing while waiting for their names to be called, have been posted on social media since yesterday.

The posts gained negative comments from netizens saying it may even cause the fast spread of coronavirus desease (COVID-19).

In a radio interview, Alcala explained that the incident transpired due to early arrival of residents long before the time schedule assigned to them.

"Most of them who were very eager to get their SAP came very early in the venue. Excited perhaps, many came 3 to 4 hours earlier despite the time schedule written in their claim stub,  and we did not expect that to happen", said Alcala.

He said that to make the distribution of SAP to beneficiaries from 11 out of 33 barangays faster, it was done at Punzalan Gymnasium, the biggest venue that the city government has in the city proper.

Secondly, the mayor explained that it took two weeks for the personnel of the Department of Social Welfare and Development (DSWD) to almost finish the validation process of SAP applicants.

Alcala said that even now that they are already distributing the SAP, the validation of DSWD in the remaining few barangays is not yet over.

"It so happened that the DSWD people are very strict and careful in carrying out the validation process. And their being undermanned also caused the delay in the SAP distribution", the mayor lamented.

But Alcala clarified that the social distancing was properly practiced during the actual distribution inside the gymnasium and what was posted in the social media were photos taken outside the venue where other beneficiaries were waiting.

He also explained the security risk that might have been faced by their people had the distribution been  done simultaenously in the 33 barangays, saying they don't have enough  policemen to assist them.