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VM Fortuna calls move vs. HELPS ‘anti-people, anti poor’

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Mandaue City Vice Mayor Carlo Fortuna hit opposition councilors who accuse the administration of using the Hinabang sa Edukasyon, Livelihood ug Panglawas sa tanan or HELPS to woo voters.

The opposition-allied majority of the Mandaue City Council earlier approved a resolution, directing the the Commission on Elections (Comelec) to junk any petition of the city for exemption from the prohibitions against disbursement of funds during the campaign period.

HELPS covers education, hospitalization, funeral, burial, and medication maintenance assistance to applicants whose indigency is certified by the City Social Welfare Services.

In a Cebu Daily News article, Fortuna, a reelectionist candidate under the slate of Mayor Luigi Quisumbing, said that the move by the opposition councilors was “anti-people and anti-poor.”

“Can we tell the people not to get sick because it’s still election time?” he asked.

The vice mayor rejected allegations that they use the disbursement of the cash assistance as a campaign stunt.

“It is not us giving the cash assistance. When the campaign period started, we stopped being there in the distribution because of Comelec restrictions,” according to him.

The CSWS maintained that the distribution of cash aid under the Helps program is valid, citing Comelec Resolution 10511.

The resolution provides that, established existing projects of the government, or those established before the campaign period started on March 29, may be exempted from the disbursement ban provided that a list of these projects is submitted to the Comelec before the campaign period.