MANILA – The Department of the Interior and Local Government (DILG) ordered local chief executives in Metro Manila to suspend road clearing operations and concentrate on efforts to contain the spread of the coronavirus disease 2019 (Covid-19).
“I want our LGUs (local government units), local chief executives to focus on this job so I suspend the road clearing operations for the time being and focus on this problem of stopping the spread of the (Covid-19),” DILG Secretary Eduardo Año said in a radio interview Saturday night.
Last February 17, Año gave all barangay executives 75 days to clear roads of obstruction, a directive spawned by President Rodrigo Duterte’s order during his last year’s State of the Nation Address.
Año also announced the suspension of cockfighting events and asked the local government units (LGUs) to refrain from issuing permits for these activities.
He also said LGU chief executives in the National Capital Region (NCR) will not be allowed to travel for the next 30 days.
“So they can focus on their jobs, we will suspend the foreign travel (authority) application for them,” Año said.
He also clarified that each Metro Manila city should have its own ordinance on the implementation of a curfew in line with the region-wide community quarantine.
“Napagkaisahan ng 17 mayors na magsagawa sila ng isang resolution na kung saan magpapatupad ng curfew parehas ang oras at implementation, 8 p.m.to 5 a.m. at itong resolution na ito ay idudulog sa mga kani-kanilang Sangguniang Panlungsod at by Monday maipapasa nila yung ordinansa then we can implement the curfew starting probably Monday magsimula na ito (All 17 mayors agreed to come up with the resolution to implement a uniform 8 p.m. to 5 a.m. curfew. This resolution will be tackled in their respective City Councils and by Monday, they can pass an ordinance. So, we can expect that probably by Monday, it will start),” he said.
He added that workers will be exempted from the curfew hours.
Año also urged the people to stay at home as some of the cases of the Covid-19 were asymptomatic.
He also said strict protocols would be enforced in checkpoints and urged people to report any abuse of officers.
Año said LGUs, however, have the power to enforce an enhanced community quarantine which can also mean a total lockdown.
“Ang virus nito ay tao ang carrier so the more na napapanatili lang natin sa bahay yung mga tao, magiging safe ang lahat (The virus’ carriers are the people so it would be safe for everyone if they stay at home). We are facing a very, very serious threat. Hindi ito biro (This is not a joke). The bottomline here is we have to restrict movement to stop the spread of the virus,” he added. (PNA)