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QC councilor asked to explain crowded food distribution 

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Quezon City Mayor Joy Belmonte issued a show-cause order to Councilor and Majority Floor Leader Franz Pumaren for alleged violation of health protocols during a food distribution activity which he led in Barangay Old Balara on Tuesday, according to a report by Philippine News Agency.

“Pursuant to reports of violations of health and safety protocols during a mass gathering at Barangay Old Balara on or about the 25th of May 2021, in which you were alleged to be a participant/organizer, you are hereby ordered to explain within 72 hours from receipt hereof to show cause why no disciplinary action should be recommended or taken against you for the foregoing acts,” Belmonte said in the order.

She has also instructed the City Epidemiology and Surveillance Unit (CESU) to conduct coronavirus disease 2019 (Covid-19) testing among participants of the activity while the matter is already under probe by the City Legal Department to determine appropriate charges to be filed.

In a virtual press briefing, Pumaren said what happened during the activity was unfortunate and that it was an isolated case.

He said that the unexpected heavy downpour pushed the people falling in line to take cover and when the rain stopped, everyone tried to be ahead of the line which caused them to be close to one another.

However, the videos that came out on social media and in some news reports from the said event were not the whole picture, Pumaren said.

“Yung nakita sa video, yan po yung nag-rush sila but after a few minutes, na-restore naman yung order ng ating mga kapulisan tsaka ng iba pang mga nandun (What was shown in the video was when the people rushed but it was restored after a few minutes through the help of the police and the others who were there),” Pumaren said.

Pumaren said he did not encounter any problems since he started conducting the activity in July last year, which has so far served 115,000 beneficiaries.

He added that there are these are done in coordination with the police, village officials, and other organizations.

“We practiced all the health safety protocols, we have alcohol, sanitizers, we get the temperature. There are about 12 policemen, Task Force Disiplina was there and a fraternity group with 70 volunteer marshalls, aside from the community leaders, that’s what we have been doing in all of our activities,” Pumaren explained in Filipino.

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