DILG to LGUs, PNP: Close non-essential business establishments

MANILA – The Department of the Interior and Local Government (DILG) on Wednesday directed local government units (LGUs) and the Philippine National Police (PNP) to strictly enforce the closure of non-essential business establishments while the enhanced community quarantine (ECQ) is still being implemented until April 30 in Luzon amid the coronavirus disease 2019 (Covid-19) pandemic.

“Make sure that business establishments that are not allowed to operate under IATF guidelines remain closed. The ECQ is still in full force and effect. There is no partial lifting whatsoever. Our country will heal as one if and only the government, the private sector, and the people stick to the strict enforcement of ECQ,” DILG Secretary Eduardo M. Año said in a news release.

Several reports, he said, have reached the DILG regarding the opening of some non-essential commercial establishments in some localities.

In DILG Memorandum Circular (MC) No. 2020-062, LGUs are enjoined to ensure the closure of business establishments, except those providing or manufacturing basic necessities such as food, medicine, water, banking, and remittance centers, power, energy, telecommunication, and the like. In all such establishments allowed to operate, the LGUs must monitor to ensure the operation of a skeletal workforce only, as well as strict social distancing measures.

“If there is resistance or disobedience to authorities, the PNP has the authority to make arrests. Nasa gitna tayo ng (We are in a) state of public health emergency at kalamidad (and calamity). Ang mga pasaway ay maaaring arestuhin sa paglabag as (Offenders can be arrested for violation) Article 151 ng Revised Penal Code (RPC). The law punishes resistance and disobedience to a person in authority or the agents of such person,” he said.

The penalty for violating Article 151 of the RPC is arresto mayor, or imprisonment of one month and one day to six months, and a fine not exceeding PHP100,000.