The Department of the Interior and Local Government (DILG) on Friday urged local government units (LGUs) to coordinate with them on the implementation of guidelines on the enhanced community quarantine in Luzon, set by the Inter-Agency Task Force for the Management of Emerging Infectious Diseases (IATF-EID), to prevent confusion.
This came after Interior Secretary Eduardo Año cited reports that confusion on the implementation of the measure resulted in the hampered delivery of basic goods.
“There must be coordination, dialogue, and agreement. I cannot name those LGUs but we are already doing official communication with them,” Año said in a Laging Handa press briefing on Friday.
His remarks came after President Rodrigo Duterte called out LGUs for supposedly implementing different policies when it comes to the movement of cargoes and goods.
The President has directed all LGUs in Luzon to follow the approved IATF-EID guidelines on the implementation of the quarantine.
Duterte made the call as he recognized the LGUs’ vital role in the national government’s efforts to arrest the spread of the coronavirus disease 2019 (Covid-19).
Año reiterated that all cargoes should always be allowed to pass through checkpoints.
“May mga ibang LGUs na nag-iba ng (Some LGUs had a different) interpretation. For example, the checkpoint and passing of cargo, kasama diyan dapat lahat ng cargo (all cargoes are included), especially food and medicines, should be unhampered,” he said.
Año noted that LGUs in the Visayas and Mindanao have the option to declare a general community quarantine but they should coordinate with the DILG and Department of Health (DOH).
“But because some LGUs in Visayas and Mindanao, nag-lockdown sila ng border, ayaw na nilang paraanin ‘yung cargoes na ito na kailangang makarating sa iba’t-ibang lugar, kasama na din ang island ng Luzon (But because some LGUs in the Visayas and Mindanao have locked down their borders, they do not allow cargoes to pass, even those that need to reach Luzon),” he explained.
Año further said some LGUs have declared that domestic flights had been canceled.
“Malinaw naman guidelines kaya dapat sundin (The guidelines are clear, so the LGUs should follow them),” he added.
DILG spokesman, Undersecretary Jonathan Malaya, warned LGUs of sanctions if they fail to follow the quarantine guidelines.
The DILG has been receiving reports that the delivery of petroleum, animal feeds, and even flour was being stopped at certain control points upon orders of mayors and governors.
Malaya said policemen deployed to checkpoints should only implement the orders of the Chief Executive.
“It was discussed that the police should take order from the President, not the mayors because the mayor cannot overrule the President,” he said.
Duterte has instructed the DILG and the Department of Justice to monitor and study possible charges against local government officials who fail to comply with the orders. (Christopher Lloyd Caliwan/PNA)