MANILA – Malacañang thanked local government units (LGUs) for taking the initiative to provide for the needs of their constituents while an enhanced community quarantine (ECQ) is in effect over Luzon due to the coronavirus disease 2019 (Covid-19) outbreak.
Cabinet Secretary Karlo Nograles commended LGUs for supporting President Rodrigo Duterte’s order to ensure that Filipinos do not go hungry while minimizing the risk of spreading the disease in their communities.
He said that aside from following the quarantine guidelines, they are also doing more than what is expected of them even without orders.
“So far nagpapasalamat kami sa lahat ng mga LGUs na not only na sumusunod sila sa mga guidelines natin but gumagawa din sila ng kanilang mga initiatives para matulungan ang kanilang mga constituents (We want to thank all LGUs who are not only following our guidelines but are also taking their own initiatives to help their constituents),” he said in a press briefing in Malacañang late Wednesday night.
On Monday, Duterte urged mayors and barangay workers to ensure that their constituents get the necessary food, health care, and transport assistance while under quarantine.
“Just go around…maybe asking if there is somebody starving or in need of food. It behooves upon the barangay captain…this is a mandatory duty. It does not have to have a law because the proclamation itself suggests that there is really a need for you to work with government,” he said in a televised public address.
Local executives were also tasked to monitor persons undergoing self-quarantine and provide transport to health workers to their respective hospitals and clinics.
Under an enhanced community lockdown, the majority of the population is strictly required to stay indoors unless to go out to purchase basic necessities. All forms of mass transportation were also suspended.
No tricycles allowed
However, Nograles thumbed down calls to allow tricycles to continue ferrying health workers, people in need of basic necessities and medical assistance saying they allowed little space to observe social distancing by at least 1 meter.
He said LGUs should instead use four-wheeled vehicles such as jeepneys or multi-cabs to prevent the transmission of the disease.
“May means po ang LGU na gumamit ng other means of transportation LGUs have means to use other means of transportation). Meron po silang mga sarili nilang sasakyan or maaari sila gumamit ng sasakyan ng iba, maki-usap or other means (They have their own cars or they can borrow cars from others),” he said.
To help curb the spread of Covid-19, he said LGUs should all stick to “common ground rules”.
“Hindi kami sa gobyerno gumagawa ng mga patakaran at mga rules dahil gusto po natin pahirapan ang ating taumbayan. Ginagawa natin itong lahat para lahat pantay-pantay at lahat maproteksyunan (We are not making these rules because we want to give you a hard time. We are doing these because we want everyone to receive equal treatment and everyone to be given protection),” he said.
Senator Francis Tolentino has urged the Department of the Interior and Local Government (DILG) to permit a limited number of tricycles to continue plying their routes.
He pointed out that LGUs have supervision over the issuance of tricycle franchises.
Pasig City Mayor Vico Sotto also appealed to the national government to exempt tricycles from the ban on mass transportation, saying it would have consequences to public health. (PNA)