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Some local officials – including mayors and barangay chairpersons – have found themselves trapped between a rock and a hard place amid the COVID-19-induced enhanced community quarantine, Sen. Panfilo Lacson said Saturday.

Lacson said these local officials said they had to make do with limited funds from the national government, and yet are accused by their constituents of pocketing the funds.

“Marami ako nakausap na mayor, brgy chairman, na talagang hindi sapat ang ginagawa nga nila napagbintangan sila na kinukupit nila kasi kinakasya nila,” he said in an interview on DWIZ radio.

He said this is due to the government’s relying on data from the national level via the 2015 Census, instead of getting data from the local government units.

Lacson reiterated his call to have a bottom-up approach in determining how many families need aid.

He cited the case of a town in Cavite where the local officials listed 8,000 families needing aid – but were only given aid for 1,000 families.

This has put the mayor in a dilemma, especially since the town has little funds to draw from.

“So kailangan talaga ang ayuda ng national government nakabase sa datos sa survey na sinasagawa ng community ng LGU at sila na mag-vet kung totoo ang submit ng kapitan at taasan ang sanction,” he said.

Lacson said the LGUs can conduct the surveys, but with the caveat that stiff penalties await LGUs that fake their data.

“Parusahan nila kung hindi makatotohanan ang sinumite na datos ng mga dapat mag-benefit o maging recipient ng amelioration fund,” he said.

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