Corrupt officials who dip into COVID-19 aid will be arrested – Duterte
MANILA, Philippines— President Rodrigo Duterte on Monday threatened to arrest officials who would abuse their powers in distributing aid to the public as the country grappled to address the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) pandemic.
In a televised address, Duterte warned he would detain whoever politicizes the distribution of either money or relief goods until the COVID-19 pandemic had ended.
“I told them: Not now. Don’t cheat, steal, and keep food [that is intended for the public] and not distribute it to some. Because you know, people sometimes think that they own whatever they receive from the government. This is not yours. Neither is it mine,” Duterte said in an address delivered partly in Filipino.
“But if you play politics and I find out that’s what you did, I will suspend you. And for those who are really absconding with the money, I will detain you. Maybe I will release you after COVID ends,” he added.
Several local government units have started to distribute aid to their constituents, usually in the form of food packs, after the enhanced community quarantine was imposed.
The distribution of aid prioritizes those whose livelihood was affected by the strict quarantine, which halted public transportation business operations, except for the essential ones like hospitals, drug stores, and supermarkets.
As of Monday, the Department of Health has far confirmed 1,546 COVID-19 patients in the country. Of the number, 78 have already died while 42 have already recovered.
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