MANILA – The Department of the Interior and Local Government (DILG) on Monday enjoined local government units (LGUs) to deploy mobile markets to ensure the supply of fresh food for their constituents.

In an advisory to governors, mayors, and regional directors dated April 18, Interior Secretary Eduardo Año urged LGUs to coordinate with local producers, manufacturers, distributors, and retailers for this measure.

He also encouraged the use of online marketing and delivery of goods through the use of various platforms and setting up of community markets in subdivisions in coordination with the homeowners’ associations.

Año said these innovative measures will greatly limit the movement of people and ensure social distancing.

All LGUs have also been advised to discontinue the imposition of “narrow or limited time period” on the access and operation of public and private establishments such as wet markets, supermarkets, grocery stores, and pharmacies.

He said such schemes force people to flock and congest these facilities, thus, negating social distancing protocols.

“Scheduling and/or clustering of the communities and/or barangays who may be allowed to go out instead is highly encouraged,” he stressed.

In a separate statement, the DILG discouraged LGUs from using disinfection tents, misting chambers or sanitation booths on individuals following the Department of Health’s (DOH) and World Health Organization (WHO) advisory stating that such measures on humans do not protect against Covid-19 and “may even cause more harm than good.”

Año said that the last thing the national government needs right now are added health concerns on top of the Covid-19.

He said that stopping the use of the said disinfection methods on people is the right step since its effectiveness has been refuted by the DOH.

“The most important thing is we continue to adapt as we discover new knowledge about Covid-19. Hindi makatutulong ang mga disinfection mist laban dito kaya naman (The use of disinfection mist will not help fight Covid-19 so) we discourage the LGUs from using them sa kanilang mga nasasakupan (on people in their areas of jurisdiction),” Año said.

He said that even the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) of the United States America has debunked the effectiveness of disinfection practices reporting their lack of microbial efficacy and highlights their adverse health effects.

The DILG chief, however, clarified that misting can still be done on cars, rooms, buildings, and other inanimate objects.

“Ang sabi ng DOH ay ‘wag lang sa tao ngunit puwede sa mga bagay (The DOH said not to use it on people but it can be used on things) so we are following that advisory,” he said.

Individuals, however, wearing full personal protective equipment, characterized as having no external skin exposure, may be subject to misting or spraying before removing their full PPE with careful consideration on the eyes, nose, mouth, and throat.

The DOH issued said memorandum as a clarification following the clamor for the health agency to set the record straight on the efficacy and guidelines on spraying disinfectants or misting.

In an earlier advisory, the DILG said commonly used chemical disinfectants such as hypochlorite are irritant to the skin and the mucous membrane (eyes, nose, and throat) and may have adverse effects when inhaled. (PNA)

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