THE grant of cash aid to senior citizens, persons with disabilities as well as medical, burial and other assistance given to qualified individuals by the city government of Zamboanga will continue even throughout the election period.
The City Hall Information Office said Tuesday, September 26, 2023, that the Commission on Elections (Comelec) has approved the request of the city government for exemption from the provision of section 261 (v) of the Omnibus Election Code, as implemented by Resolution 10944, for purposes of the October 30, 2023 Barangay and Sangguniang Kabataan Elections (BSKE).
The request was submitted to Comelec by Lawyer Haydee Gretchen Panganiban, the city legal officer, on behalf of City Social Welfare and Development Officer Socorro Rojas, whose office carries out the grant of the cash assistance and other social services.
The cash assistance programs refer to Mayor John Dalipe’s initiatives to grant cash incentives to PWDs and senior citizens for the period January to December 2023 in the total amount of P2 million and P35.5 million, respectively.
The cash incentives are intended to help the recipients cope with their living condition.
The Comelec said the exemption is granted provided it shall not in any manner influence the conduct of the BSKE; not involve any distribution of assistance to individuals in crisis situation (AICS) from October 20 to 30, 2023 except those which are normally given to qualified individuals such as, but not limited to basic needs in the form of food, transportation, medical, educational, burial and other similar assistance; and that the issuance of an exemption shall not prevent the conduct of preliminary investigation in cases where the prohibited acts as described in Section 261 (o) of the Omnibus Election Code occur.
The exemption is contained in Comelec Memorandum No. 23-05604, penned by Director IV Maria Norina Tangaro – Casingal of the Law Department and approved by Elections Chairperson George Erwin Garcia.
“Upon evaluation, we find the request to have sufficiently complied with the requirements of sections 7 and 10 of Resolution No. 10944,” the Comelec memorandum stated.(SunStar Zamboanga)