MANILA – Interior Secretary Eduardo Año encouraged on Tuesday local government units to innovate ways to effectively implement the Luzon-wide enhanced community quarantine (ECQ) to prevent the spread of the coronavirus disease 2019 (Covid-19).
“We hope that all of our local government officials will come up with innovations so that it will be easier for us to implement the enhanced community quarantine. We hope that government vehicles can be put to good use,” he said in Filipino in a radio interview.
Año was referring to the use of government vehicles by LGUs to provide transportation assistance especially in areas where checkpoints are set up.
He said entry and exit points are not the “concentration points” of people anymore as Luzon island has been placed under enhanced community quarantine.
Año said strategic areas would now be manned by the police and military.
“More troops will go around to warn people to return to their houses,” he added.
Expressways are under the watch of the Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) and no one will be allowed to enter except delivery of food, medicine and essential goods.
Año said the government is now coming up with ways to ease mobility of health workers.
“We are thinking of solutions like opening specific mass transport for the health workers,” said Año.
Año said the Philippine National Police (PNP) and the AFP could provide vehicles for the health workers.
Concerned local government units (LGUs) should also assist the health workers who are in need of transportation, he added.
Public transport is suspended while the enhanced community quarantine is in effect.
Meanwhile, Año said the LGUs should also hold special sessions to tackle anti-Covid-19 measures.
“I expect that LGU officials will work double-time here. First, it is like we are in a state of calamity. We can declare a state of calamity so that our LGUs can access calamity funds, especially quick reaction fund. LGUs also have data on vulnerable sectors and families who are in dire need. The LGUs and the DSWD (Department of Social Welfare and Development) have that,” he said.
He said LGUs and the DSWD should coordinate with each other in helping the people in terms of food and other forms of assistance.
Meanwhile, Philippine National Police (PNP) chief, Gen. Archie Francisco Gamboa appealed to the public to comply with the enhanced community quarantine measures and stay at home.
“The general rule, we encourage everybody to stay home and there are some exceptions for basic government services or other private services like health, food, BPOs because of the industry and allowing one member of the family to go out and get some groceries. Grocery stores are open as well as wet markets,” he said in a TV interview.
Gamboa said they also have to make sure that the flow of food supply continues while restricting movement of people.
He, however, warned that the PNP is also on the lookout against hoarders. (PNA)