LGUs reminded anew of 'crucial role' of quarantine enforcement

MANILA – The Department of the Interior and Local Government (DILG) reminded anew local government units of their crucial roles in the Luzon-wide enhanced community quarantine, to stop the spread of the 2019 coronavirus disease (Covid-19).

In an interview on Alerto Covid-19 special on Thursday night, DILG Undersecretary Jonathan Malaya said LGUs must ensure social distancing and avoiding mass gatherings, among others.

"Alam natin (We know) that every person is a potential carrier of the disease so kailangan nating siguruhin na hindi ito kumalat sa kanilang mga lugar, sila yung frontline natin sa usapin na yan (we need to ensure it will not spread in their areas, they are our frontline when it comes to that matter)," Malaya said.

He added that another vital function of the LGUs is to ensure a stable food supply for their constituents, especially for those who belong to the informal sector.

"They need to supply food to their people because that is the President's order," he said.

Malaya also clarified that the DILG respects the autonomy of the LGUs.

"What we have over them is supervision, not control," he said.

He, however, assured that cases will be filed against any officials who will commit abuses.

The DILG has assigned a monitoring team to supervise each LGUs and barangays.

The local government operations officers, city and provincial directors, he said, are also tasked to monitor safety and precaution measures of the LGUs against Covid-19 nationwide.

Malaya also said based on the Constitution, erring local chief executives and barangay officials need to be charged first before they can be suspended.

He, however, said the DILG is investigating and collecting pieces of evidence on complaints against erring officials.

This came amid reports of 'quarantine pass for sale' scheme allegedly perpetrated by some local officials.

He also reiterated DILG Secretary Eduardo Año's order that "selling of quarantine pass is prohibited."

Violators may face removal from office or imprisonment.

Meanwhile, Malaya said the DILG advised LGUs that the distribution of relief assistance should be done house-to-house, to maintain social distancing among their constituents.

He urged the LGUs nationwide to implement their own community quarantine measures within the limits of the Inter-agency Task Force for the Management of Emerging Infectious Diseases (IATF-EID).

"You may stop work, you may stop classes. But you have to allow the unimpeded entry of cargo including foods, manufacturing plants or vital industries," he said. (PNA)