Tue. Apr 13th, 2021

MANILA – Interior Secretary Eduardo Año on Thursday urged local government units (LGUs) to implement ‘best practices’ on the distribution of cash aid from the government’s social amelioration program (SAP) to families affected by the enhanced community quarantine (ECQ).

Año said he still prefers the house-to-house distribution of cash assistance to ensure that people will not leave their homes.

However, if LGUs decide to set up distribution points, marked chairs can be used to ensure that physical distancing is strictly implemented.

“Kahit na wala na itong ECQ sa buong taon na ito, hanggang wala pang tinatawag nating vaccine, ito na yung bagong buhay natin [Even if there is no ECQ for the rest of the year, while there is no vaccine, this will be our new life],” Año said in a radio interview.

He added that LGUs’ actions on this matter are continuously monitored.

Año said his agency is constantly giving feedback to the Department of Social Welfare and Development (DSWD) regarding the issues on the distribution of assistance to the residents.

On Wednesday, Año bared that 29 village chiefs have received show-cause orders for failure to properly enforce quarantine rules such as non-observance of social distancing rules in their areas and allowing mass gatherings.

He said village chiefs are legally liable in properly implementing the ECQ as mandated by Republic Act No. 11469 or the Bayanihan to Heal as One Act which orders LGUs to fully cooperate in the cohesive implementation of the national policy to address Covid-19.

Meanwhile, Año also asked LGUs to allow the passage of vehicles ferrying returning overseas Filipino workers (OFWs) on their way to designated quarantine areas.

Under the guidelines set by the Inter-Agency Task Force for the Management of Emerging Infectious Diseases (IATF-EID), returning OFWs should undergo a mandatory 14-day quarantine before they are allowed to return to their residence to prevent possible Covid-19 transmission.

“Unang-una, hindi dapat hinarang ng mga residente o LGU yan dahil yan ay matagal nang resolution sa IATF na ang ating OFW dapat ay unhampered yan (First of all, residents or LGUs must not block them because the IATF has earlier issued a resolution stating that the passage of our OFWs must be unhampered),” Año said.

Some OFWs from three countries were prevented to go to their designated quarantine facilities in Batangas amid the ECQ in Luzon.

Año said the memorandum was issued by DILG-Calabarzon director Noel Bartolabac is already enough basis to let the OFWs pass through and reach their destination.

“Supposedly, the rule is that the governor and the municipal mayor should coordinate with all LGUs where these OFWs will pass through. Maybe they were not informed. They should be escorted by the police so they won’t be blocked. They must have forgotten about it,” he said in Filipino. (PNA)

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