DIRTY politics has started early in Malabon and the immediate victims are, unfortunately, senior citizens.
Four elders were reportedly taken to hospitals, three in Malabon Hospital and one in an unidentified hospital in Caloocan, after they passed out while waiting in line for the unconditional cash transfer (UCT) payout.
A reliable source said around 10 more senior citizens lost consciousness while trying to get the financial assistance and were brought by the Malabon Rescue Team to their respective homes to recover.
The incident was blamed to the poor choice of venue to facilitate the release of the grant to some 3,000 old beneficiaries.
According to my informant, the important event was held at the Tenejeros Covered Court which could accommodate only 500 persons.
As a result, the small venue was quickly jampacked by fragile senior citizens who were exposed to the heat and chaos brought by overcrowding.
As I was told, organizers of the event stubbornly conducted the payout of the UCT at the Tenejeros Covered Court instead of the Malabon Amphitheater where the activity is usually done.
The amphitheater is a much larger facility and is said to be capable of housing more than 3,000 persons, but people responsible for the occasion insisted on holding it at the smaller venue.
The authorities my source was referring to are DSWD NCR Director Vincent Andrew T. Leyson and Malabon vice mayor Jeanie Sandoval.
Probably concerned of what may happen if 3,000 senior citizens are forced inside a small venue, Malabon mayor Lenlen Oreta reportedly advised Leyson to do the UCT payout at the Malabon Amphitheater.
But Leyson allegedly ignored Oreta’s suggestion and proceeded to hold the payout at the Tenejeros Covered Court which was said to be according to the vice mayor’s plan.
The plan for the UCT payout was contained in a letter given by the DSWD NCR to senior citizens of Malabon, the source said.
Still after the welfare of the senior citizens, the city government tried to send its employees to the Tenejeros Covered Court to provide assistance.
But it was learned they were rejected by organizers of the program who were associated with the vice mayor.
At any rate, amid the chaos and the beleaguered elders during what they described as a ‘punishing’ payout, bottles of water with the name of Sandoval were being distributed in the venue.
The bottles of water didn’t help though to bring order at the overcrowded place nor relieve the senior citizens of the torment brought by congestion
While some passed out and were taken to hospitals or to their respective residences to be treated, many of the senior citizens gave up waiting for the grant and went home frustrated.
Had the payout been made in a larger facility, the agonizing congestion could have been avoided. Further, if help from city hall workers were welcomed, more elders could have received the subsidy on time.
There would be no senior citizens taken to hospitals if they were not used in politics.
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