by Fernan A. Gianan
If one goes around the province in a day, at least along the circumferential road, there is scant indication that the residents are afraid of the coronavirus pandemic.
Most people wear no face masks, they do not observe physical distancing and there is this palpable feeling among them that COVID-19 exists only on television.
In fact, when this writer passed by some coastal barangays in Pandan and Caramoran, only one resident was seen wearing a facemask, a barbecue vendor in Tubli surrounded by a number of maskless customers. Out of sight of policemen stationed at quarantine checkpoints, motorcycle backriding is the norm.
It makes you wonder if the barangay officials in the 315 villages ever received the advisory from the Department of the Interior and Local Government (DILG) dated June 17, 2020, reminding all punong barangays nationwide to monitor the adherence within their respective jurisdictions of the practice of wearing of face masks, physical or social distancing, regular handwashing, and the availability of sanitizers, clean water, and soap.
Barangays are also directed to discourage mass gatherings and eating together in communal areas, and to do regular cleaning and disinfection within barangay premises.
DILG Sec. Eduardo Año recently reminded barangay officials to walk the talk, to follow the rules first before imposing them on others.
For monitoring purposes, the DILG Regional Offices are supposed to submit to the Central Office the list of barangay officials, if any, who failed to comply with COVID-19 related policies of the Department and other government agencies.
Just after issuing the advisory, the DILG recommended disciplinary action against 20 punong barangays in Metro Manila to the Office of the Ombudsman.
Whether the same thing could happen in this island is anybody’s guess. Perhaps, if the number of cases ever each a hundred…
Also last week, the same agency has urged LGUs) to be stricter in the issuance of identification cards to PWDs and ensure that such IDs are issued to legitimate PWDs only.
This is an issue that the concerned committee in the Sangguniang Panlalawigan can look into with seriousness.
Sec. Año said LGUs should see to it that the spirit and letter of Republic Act No. 10754 or the Act Expanding the Benefits and Privileges of Persons with Disability (PWD) and its implementing rules and regulations (IRR) are adhered to and are not abused by unscrupulous who want to take advantage of the discounts.
The DILG chief reminded LGUs that PWD IDs should only be issued to people who have long-term physical, mental, intellectual, or sensory impairment which may hinder their full, effective, and equal participation to the society pursuant to the United Nations Convention.
Under RA No. 10754, PWDs are given 20% discounts; exemption to value-added tax (VAT); 5% discount on basic necessities and prime commodities; and free use of express lanes in commercial and government transactions.
Under the law, PWD IDs can be issued by the Persons with Disability Affairs Office (PDAO) or the City / Municipal Social Welfare and Development Office (C/MSWDO) for persons with the following types of disabilities: Psychosocial disability – Includes bipolar disorder, depression, ADHD, schizophrenia, epilepsy, and other long-term and recurring mental or behavioral issues; Disability resulting from a chronic illness – Includes orthopedic disability due to cancer, blindness due to diabetes, and other disabilities due to chronic disease; and Learning disability – Includes processing problems that hinder learning math, reading, writing, and other basic skills.
Other kinds of disabilities covered by the law are visual disability – Simple poor eyesight doesn’t automatically qualify a person for a PWD ID unless the visual impairment cannot be corrected; Orthopedic (Musculoskeletal) disability – Includes people with dwarfism and amputated hands or feet. Individuals with scoliosis may also apply for an ID; Mental/Intellectual disability; Hearing disability; Speech impairment; and multiple disabilities.
THE NEW EMPLOYEE. The manager of a large office noticed a new man one day and told him to come into his office. “What’s your name?” he asked the new guy.
“John,” the new guy replied.
The manager scowled: “Look, I don’t know what kind of a namby-pamby place you worked before, but I don’t call anyone by their first name. It breeds familiarity and that leads to a breakdown in authority.”
“I refer to my employees by their last name only; Smith, Jones, Baker. That’s all. I am to be referred to only as Mr Robertson. Now that we got that straight, what is your last name?”
The new guy sighed: “Darling. My name is John Darling”.
“Okay John, the next thing I want to tell you is…”