DUMAGUETE CITY – The local government unit here is procuring 30,000 sacks of rice for distribution to eligible beneficiaries amid the coronavirus disease 2019 (Covid-19) pandemic.

A budget of PHP12 million will be spent for rice bags of 10 kilos each, already appropriated by the city council, according to General Services Officer (GSO) Azucena Gonzales in an interview on Monday.

Gonzales said the bidding and procurement of the rice assistance will commence Tuesday under the GSO.

After picking the winning supplier and all requirements are met, the City Social Welfare and Development Office will be in charge of the distribution to qualified households.

The city has not started the distribution, contrary to rumors circulating on social media.

Rep. Manuel Sagarbarria of the second district of Negros Oriental also issued a statement on Monday to deny another online post, a purported signature campaign under the guise of the implementation of the Tulong Panghanapbuhay sa Ating Disadvantaged/Displaced Workers (TUPAD) program of the Department of Labor and Employment.

Sagarbarria said he heard over a local radio program that a woman was complaining about being asked to sign the TUPAD form, allegedly from his office, but there was also a support paper for a 174-hectare reclamation project on the Dumaguete seafront.

TUPAD is a community-based package of assistance that provides emergency employment for displaced workers, underemployed, and seasonal workers, for a minimum of 10 days and a maximum of 30 days.

Sagarbarria reiterated his stand against the reclamation, particularly if the project “is not environmentally viable, socially acceptable, and economically feasible”.

Meanwhile, no Covid-cases were reported here on Sunday, as active infections remained at 49.

Of the active infections, 28 are monitored and handled by the City Health Office; one active case is outside the city; 9 confined at Silliman University Medical Center; one admitted at Negros Oriental Provincial Hospital; four confined at ACE Dumaguete Doctors; two at Holy Child Hospital; and four at Negros Polymedic Hospital.

The city is under general community quarantine with heightened restrictions. (PNA)