QC gov’t assures safety of community pantry organizers amid red-tagging claims

Robie de Guzman   •   April 20, 2021   •   541

The local government of Quezon City on Tuesday assured that organizers and beneficiaries of community pantries in the city will remain safe amid allegations of red-tagging being conducted by government authorities.

In a statement, Quezon City Mayor Joy Belmonte expressed support for the initiative and vowed to protect its organizers.

“I would like to personally assure Ms. Ana Patricia Non and other like-minded individuals that the local government of Quezon City fully supports Community Pantries,” Belmonte said.

“Indeed, these initiatives highlight the bayanihan spirit inherent in our QCitizens. The city government will therefore ensure that the organizers and beneficiaries of Community Pantries remain safe and unimpeded,” she added.

Belmonte gave the assurance after Non, the person behind the Maginhawa community pantry, said they would temporarily pause their operations for the safety of their volunteers amid the alleged red-tagging.

Belmonte said she has reached out to Non and discussed her concerns about her safety and security.

“I have requested QCPD District Director Brigadier General Antonio Yarra to conduct an investigation regarding Ms. Non’s apprehensions and earlier experiences,” she said.

“I will likewise meet with Station 9 Commander Police LtCol, Imelda Reyes, under which jurisdiction Maginhawa falls, to further discuss Miss Non’s security concerns,” she added.

The mayor said the city’s Task Force Disiplina and barangay officials have provided assistance in maintaining peace and order in the Maginhanawa community pantry.

She, however, clarified that the teams are only there to “help remind the public about observing minimum health standards and to assist in controlling any crowds that may form.”

“Task Force Disiplina is instructed to do the same for any other community pantries in the city should barangay personnel need additional assistance,” she said.

“In these difficult times, let us allow kindness and selflessness to prevail,” she added.

Eleazar signs dismissal of police in viral murder video in QC

Aileen Cerrudo   •   June 24, 2021

MANILA, Philippines — Philippine National Police (PNP) chief PGen. Guillermo Eleazar on Thursday (June 24) signed the dismissal order of PMSgt. Hensie Zinampan, the policeman in the viral video of the killing of a 52-year old woman in Quezon City on May 31.

“Today, I signed the dismissal order of Police Master Sergeant Hensie Zinampan who was found guilty of Grave Misconduct and Conduct Unbecoming of a Police Officer in connection with the killing of 52-year old Lilybeth Valdez on May 31, 2021,” said Eleazar in a PNP statement.

Zinampan is currently detained and is facing murder charges.

With the dismissal, the PNP said Zinampan will no longer receive any benefits from the agency. The PNP also said that his dismissal is proof that the agency does not condone abuse and wrongdoings among the police ranks.

“The PNP made sure that the entire summary dismissal proceedings followed the existing procedures and policies in order to prevent technicalities that may only be taken advantage of by PMS Zinampan to be reinstated in the police organization,” according to the statement.

Eleazar said that Zinampan’s dismissal should serve as a warning to all PNP personnel and that each police officer should live up to the three important and meaningful words in the PNP Seal—Service, Honor, and Justice. AAC

Quezon City opens nighttime COVID-19 vaccination for workers

Robie de Guzman   •   June 16, 2021

The Quezon City government on Wednesday announced it has launched a nighttime vaccination program, which will open at 6 p.m. or after working hours to accommodate employees who cannot take time off from work or visit a vaccination site during the day.

In a statement, Quezon City Mayor Joy Belmonte said the vaccination program, dubbed “QC Bakuna Nights,” aims to expand the reach of the city and immunize workers whose only free time is in the evening.

“Para ito sa mga manggagawa natin na hindi naman makaliban sa kanilang trabaho para makapagpabakuna sa karaniwang oras na 8am-5pm. Lalo na ‘yung mga arawan ang sahod,” Belmonte said.

“Ngayon, hindi na nila kailangang mamili kung arawang kita ba muna o bakuna. We will inoculate them at a time most convenient to them,” she added.

The city government also said on Wednesday that for the first time, around 2,000 pre-registered frontline personnel under the A4 category will be inoculated at the Quezon City Hall Grounds.

QC gov’t eyes cutting ties with firm behind eZConsult over vaccination booking woes

Robie de Guzman   •   June 16, 2021

The Quezon City government on Wednesday said it is “seriously considering” terminating its contract with Zuellig Pharma Corporation, the firm behind eZConsult, after some residents complained of difficulty booking COVID-19 vaccination appointments.

Quezon City Mayor Joy Belmonte said she has issued an ultimatum to Zuellig Pharma Corporation to upgrade its system and provide all the deliverables by Friday, June 18, as agreed in a meeting held last week.

“If not, we have no other choice but to contract another company that can do the job quickly and efficiently,” Belmonte said in a statement.

Belmonte made the pronouncement after residents reported problems in accessing eZConsult services since March 27.

“Kaya natin kinuha ang serbisyo ng eZConsult ay para mapadali ang proseso ng pagpapatala ngunit ano ang gagawin natin kung ang sistema nila mismo ang ugat ng problema,” she said.

“We have already improved our system in vaccination centers where people no longer have to fall in line and go through the entire vaccination process within a maximum of 45 mins. Dapat kahit virtual pila wala din sa QC as long as vaccine supply is stable. Yet eZconsult is putting all our efforts down the drain,” she added.

In addition to terminating its deal with Zuellig, the Quezon City government is also mulling suing the company for damages if it fails to meet its contractual obligations to the local government by Friday.

The local government said City Attorney Orlando Casimiro already wrote Zuellig Pharma Corporation, through its general manager Danilo Cahoy, demanding liquidated damages in connection with the technical failures of eZConsult.

“If the improvements promised to the city are not honored as is contained in the contract, we will initiate contract termination proceedings and file appropriate charges against them as deemed appropriate by our city legal counsel to enforce and protect our rights and the interests of QCitizens,” Belmonte said.

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