President Rodrigo Roa Duterte has addressed the nation where he stressed the critical role of the local governments as partners of the National Government in implementing the guidelines and protocols it established in preventing the spread of the coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) during the Enhanced Community Quarantine or Lockdown in the entire Luzon.
The National Government, through the Executive Secretary, following the resolutions of the Inter-Agency Task Force on Emerging Infectious Diseases (IATF) has set the standards as guide for our local chief executives to implement. The policy of staying at home by those who are not performing non-essential tasks and services and the social distancing by those who are out of their homes are paramount. So are the unimpeded delivery of food supply. The stoppage of public transport and restriction of movement of private vehicles are essential. The protocols on hand hygiene and wearing of protective gear set by the Department of Health must be observed.
The Office of the President has received reports, however, that some local government units (LGUs) do not follow those guidelines and have enforced their own measures in contravention to the specified standards established by the IATF for strict enforcement.
We echo the President’s directive to all LGUs to adopt and adhere strictly to guidelines above set forth. Any deviation thereof by the local executives will derail the very purpose for which those rules were established which is to contain the dreaded disease and avoid placing our people in graver peril.
The National Government will not countenance such deviation and disobedience. Errant local officials will face administrative sanctions and criminal prosecution. The LGUs’ actions must be in sync and in unison with the National Government’s directives in this state of national health emergency and calamity.
While the Palace recognizes the efforts of our LGUs, it must be emphasised that the contagion has reached a magnitude that requires the forceful enforcement of tested stringent measures to effect the survival of this nation.
It is observed that there has been a sudden surge of fake and alarming news of alleged crime incidents or planned crimes to be committed and are being circulated online. They create panic, confusion and fear among our people. We denounce the proliferation of such false narratives. We ask the citizenry to be discerning on what they read on social media and not to readily believe them.
We ask our people to report to the Philippine National Police and other law enforcement agencies any occurrence or commission of a crime through the following: 09173125626 (Globe); 09988940013 (Smart); 7253176 (Landline) or PNP2019nCoVARRopns@gmail.com (E-mail).
We encourage our people to keep calm and stay vigilant. Rest assured that the government is here to protect everyone and is working for their safety and well being.
And as we tread the tortuous path of saving ourselves and our country on the death throes of the coronavirus disease, let us reflect on the words of the President:
“We are not alone. But let our country lead the way in imposing the lockdown that is STRICT enough to effectively kill COVID-19, LIBERAL enough, so that our people will not die of hunger, and ORDERLY enough, so that our country will not be driven towards chaos during this difficult time.”
Salvador S. Panelo
Chief Presidential Legal Counsel & Presidential Spokesperson