MANILA – Two punong barangays (village chairpersons) are in hot water for violations of stringent physical distancing measures and the prohibition against mass gatherings under the government’s guidelines on enhanced community quarantine (ECQ).

The Department of the Interior and Local Government (DILG) issued a Show Cause Order to barangay chair Leny Leticia Glivano of Barangay Libis, Quezon City for organizing a parade last April 9, 2020.

DILG Secretary Eduardo Año said the parade is considered a mass gathering which is strictly prohibited during the ECQ.

“Ang parada sa Barangay Libis ay nagdulot ng paglabas ng maraming tao at pagkumpulan sa kalye. Nabalewala nito ang strict physical distancing na puwedeng magdala ng panganib ng virus sa maraming tao (The parade in Barangay Libis caused many people to flock in the streets. It disregarded the strict physical distancing and can pose danger of virus infection to many people),” Año said in a news release.

The DILG’s Show Cause Order admonished Glivano for her complete disregard of the memorandum from Executive Secretary Salvador Medialdea dated March 13 and DILG Advisory dated March 14, that listed guidelines on how to manage the coronavirus disease 2019 (Covid-19) crisis.

The department has ordered Glivano to explain in 72 hours why she should not be charged with an administrative or criminal case.

Quezon City Mayor Joy Belmonte also admonished Glivano and ordered her to explain last Saturday.

Meanwhile, the DILG also issued a Show Cause Order to chairman Brix John Reyes and barangay councilors Romualdo Reyes and John Cris Domingo of Barangay 129 in Caloocan who were allegedly involved in illegal cockfighting at the Manila North Cemetery on Black Saturday (April 11).

“Inaasahan natin na ang mga barangay officials ang katuwang ng national government sa pagpapatupad ng enhanced community quarantine pero mayroong iba na sila pa ang pasimuno ng sabong sa kanilang lugar. Mananagot sila sa batas (We expect local officials to assist the national government in implementing the enhanced community quarantine but there are those who are even organizing illegal cockfighting in their areas. They will be held liable),” said Año.

DILG Undersecretary and spokesperson Jonathan Malaya said the erring barangay officials are given 72 hours to explain why the physical distancing protocols were not observed in their areas.

He also said that they are now coordinating with the NBI for the possible filing of criminal charges against these two barangay chairpersons.

“The team of Undersecretary Martin Diño is now compiling all of these reports and we will be issuing more show cause orders in the coming days,” said Malaya.

Under Section 5.1.1 of DILG Memorandum Circular (MC) dated March 21, “all LGUs are charged with the promotion of health and safety within their jurisdictions. As such, they are to take the lead in the prevention and control of the spread of Covid-19 at the local level.”

In Section 5.1.9 of the same MC, LGUs are mandated to enforce prohibition of mass gatherings.

“As social distancing is enforced to combat the further spread of Covid-19, mass gatherings shall be strictly deterred by LGUs,” it said.

As of Monday, there are 4,932 confirmed Covid-19 cases in the Philippines with 315 deaths and 242 recovered patients.

In the National Capital Region, Quezon City and Caloocan rank first and 10th, respectively, in terms of the number of confirmed Covid-19 cases. (PR)

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