The Quezon City government on Wednesday denied media reports that food packs were not distributed at Sitio San Roque, after some of its residents participated in a protest on Wednesday to supposedly demand for the assistance.
"There is continuous distribution of food packs throughout the city, both from the local government and the barangays to ensure that affected families are looked after during this crisis period," it said in a statement.
"As per [Commission on Audit] guidelines, all recipients of food packs must be properly documented and the city government wishes to assure the public that this is strictly being complied with, and documents are available for scrutiny in the interest of transparency," it added.
Further, City Mayor Joy Belmonte has instructed city personnel to review the list to make sure nobody has been inadvertently left out, the local government added.
The local government cited interviews conducted by Task Force Disiplina Action Officer Rannie Ludovica that some of the residents who protested along North EDSA, were informed by an individual "purportedly from a TV crew" that food packs would be distributed to them in the morning and that the Department of Social Welfare and Development would also allegedly be distributing cash.
But upon reaching the area, the residents discovered that there was no food or cash distribution.
They were then allegedly instigated by "yet to be determined personalities" to conduct a rally and claim that the local government has not distributed any relief in their area.
Authorities however found, upon further investigation, that some residents indeed had already received food packs.
The Quezon City Police District (QCPD) has arrested about 20 residents who barricaded the area.
They were placed under the custody of the QCPD Criminal Investigation and Detection Unit and will face charges in violation of Republic Act 11469 (Bayanihan to Heal As One Act) and Republic Act 11332 (Mandatory Reporting of Notifiable Diseases and Health Events of Public Health Concern Act).
Belmonte, however, appealed to the QCPD to release the detainees in the interim for humanitarian reasons, with a warning that following the President’s directive that using a crisis situation to incite chaos, anarchy, panic, confusion and sedition is punishable by law under the Revised Penal Code and the Bayanihan To Heal As One Act.
"The sectors most affected by the enhanced community quarantine are reminded that if they have not yet received their food packs, they may report this to their respective barangays," the Quezon City LGU said. -MDM, GMA News