President Rodrigo Roa Duterte wants local government units (LGUs) to strictly implement health protocols in order to halt the spread of coronavirus disease (COVID-19) in the country.
“It’s very hard for us really to impose itong ano iyong paglabas ng tao and even in the wearing of the mask,” President Duterte said in a public address aired Tuesday morning.
“I hate to arrest people for a mere violation of a rule which they say that they have to… Ang problema kailangan masyado ang cooperation ng… The mayors have to do more. They have to do more.”
The President reminded local officials of their obligations, stressing they could face sanctions if they fail to implement government guidelines. Officials found guilty of gross or outright negligence would either be suspended or terminated, he noted.
At the same time, President Duterte asked the Philippine National Police (PNP) to step up the implement of government health protocols and apprehend violators without hesitation.
“So hulihin talaga. A little shame would put them on notice forever. Sino ba namang gustong mahuli ka. But if you are brought to the police station and detained there, that would give you a lesson for all time,” he said.
During his meeting with the Cabinet members, President Duterte ordered Interior and Local Government Secretary Eduardo Año to supervise local chief executives in carrying out health protocols such as mask wearing, observance of social distancing and encouraging people to stay indoors.
Año told the President that the Inter-Agency Task Force for the Management of Emerging Infectious Diseases (IATF-EID) met with the officials of Union of Local Authorities of the Philippines (ULAP), League of Provinces, League of Cities, League of Municipalities, Liga ng mga Barangay, and other officials whose jurisdictions are under the general community quarantine (GCQ).
The IATF and the local officials agreed for stricter implementation of health protocols, imposition of localized lockdowns and better handling of returning locally stranded individuals (LSIs).
He noted that during the meeting, the local chief executives and the IATF have agreed to establish a common guideline in imposing fines and penalizing those violating the health protocols.
“Gusto naming magkaroon po ng isang implementation lang po ng pare-parehas about LGU kung ilang araw po dapat ikukulong ‘yung mga nagva-violate sa pagsusuot ng face mask, at hindi nagpi-physical distancing, at kung magkano po ‘yung multa,” Año said.
Non-compliance to the government health standards remains the main reason for the continuous increase in the number of the COVID-19 infected individuals, according to Año.
The DILG chief also told the President that the government will be sending CODE (Coordinated Operation to Defeat Epidemic) teams to cities and barangays that should be quarantined due to high infection rate.
The task force will continuously communicate with the local officials to halt the contagion, he added. (PND)