President Rodrigo Roa Duterte on Monday instructed local chief executives to carryout measures to ensure the welfare of the people after placing the entire Luzon island under enhanced community quarantine to halt the spread of COVID-19.
“Kasali na ang mga mayor dito. No need of an ordinance. Go ahead and enforce the laws that are laid down by the national government and the laws that are already in the penal statutes, in the books,” the President said in an announcement following a briefing with the Inter-Agency Task Force on Emerging Infectious Diseases (IATF) in Malacañang.
The President tasked barangay captains to work with the Department of Social Welfare and Development (DSWD) for the distribution of food assistance to the most affected residents of Luzon.
“Ang isa naman, we have the DSWD under General Bautista. Siya ‘yung mag-iikot through the barangay captains. Barangay captains, you have a — mabigat itong trabaho ninyo ngayon, pareho tayo. I am not saying that you should work also,” he told the village chiefs.
“No, you are mandated to work. So dito, ang para isang linya lang, si Secretary Bautista… Si General Bautista will have his people go around and look for people who are hungry.”
“And that is the job of the mayor kasi ikaw ‘yung mayor ng barangay mo, ikaw ang maghanap para isang tumbok lang ang gobyerno and we can give the help necessary. I hope that I made myself clear on this.”
Under the enhanced community quarantine and stringent social distancing measures to be implemented starting Tuesday, March 17, to April 12, classes and mass public transportation will be suspended, mass gatherings will not be allowed, and land, air and sea travel will be restricted.
The DSWD, the Department of Labor and Employment (DOLE), in coordination with the Department of Finance (DOF), Department of Trade and Industry (DTI) will formulate programs or measures for the amelioration of affected residents and workers.
Among these measures include moratorium on lease rentals, advancing pro-rated 13th month pay, reprieve in utility bills, and assistance to micro, small and medium enterprises (MSMEs).
As more policemen and soldiers become visible in the streets, the President told the people that Luzon is not under martial rule. “Hindi ito martial law. Huwag kayong matakot, walang magdi-display ng baril diyan except ‘yung mga members ng Armed forces or police.”
“Ang kalaban natin ‘pag martial law ay ang mga tao na sumasalakay at naghihimagsik. Pero sa panahong ito, ang kalaban natin ay tayo at ang sakit na COVID-19.”
He appealed to Filipinos to consider the virus as serious threat, saying: “We are at war against a vicious and invisible enemy, one that cannot be seen by the naked eye. In this extraordinary war, we are all soldiers.”
The Chief Executive also assured the people that the government has enough resources to effectively respond to the current emergency situation.
Last week, the President placed the National Capital Region (NCR) under community quarantine due to mounting number of people being infected.
As of Monday morning, there were 140 confirmed cases of COVID-19 infections in the Philippines with 12 fatalities. PND