MANILA – Presidential Communications Operations Office (PCOO) Secretary Martin Andanar on Friday urged the local public officials to remain vigilant and sustain the gains of the government’s hard work to combat coronavirus disease 2019 (Covid-19).
In his opening remarks during the fourth Covid-19 virtual town hall meeting, Andanar said local government units (LGUs) need not be afraid of the threats posed by Covid-19.
“As we step out of our homes, we find ourselves in a different world – a place where sickness and death are just around the corner. While Covid-19 continues to persist, we must not fear. Instead, we must step out in faith without letting our guards down,” Andanar told local government officials who participated in the virtual conference.
The national government has implemented stringent quarantine measures to address the Covid-19 pandemic.
LGUs are also helping the national government in its Covid-19 battle by imposing the quarantine rules within their respective localities.
Andanar said local public officials should help President Rodrigo Duterte’s administration in boosting the efforts in containing Covid-19.
“A whole-of-nation urgency is the directive of the President. Let us speak as one, write as one, and heal as one,” he said.
Be a guiding light
Andanar expressed optimism that LGUs would become a “guiding light” of the public amid the Covid-19 crisis.
“This may be the purest manifestation of communication and the reality of our new world. Be the guiding light because of, and despite, the threat of Covid-19,” he said.
Andanar said that local public officials played an important role in the fight against the Covid-19 pandemic and in the transition to the so-called “new normal.”
He was confident that each LGU would act as a “fiber that makes up the entire communication network” of the government.
“Your words must give strength and confidence to our people. Compel the public to take these basic health practices to heart: wearing a mask outside of homes, observing physical distancing, washing of the hands regularly, and avoiding touching the face,” Andanar said.
A new normal can only be achieved in the country when places nationwide are no longer under community quarantine.
Enhanced community quarantine (ECQ), the strictest community quarantine, was imposed in Cebu and Mandaue cities until May 31.
Metro Manila, Laguna, Bataan, Bulacan, Nueva Ecija, and Pampanga were placed under modified ECQ (MECQ), while the rest of the areas in the country were put under general community quarantine (GCQ).
Understand recovery program
More establishments have reopened following the implementation of ECQ, MECQ, and GCQ in the country.
Andanar told LGUs that the country now arrives at a state where life and livelihood must be put “in balance.”
He said local public officials should understand the government’s recovery program that aims to reboot the country’s economy.
To make it happen, LGUs should be aware that people do not have money and have lost their jobs due to the pandemic, Andanar said.
Andanar added that local governments need to know that food production must be supported and prioritized by the government and private sector.
He said that infrastructure development is fundamental to the country’s growth because it would create more job and business opportunities for many Filipinos.
He also noted that financing, loans, and grants have been programmed, in accordance with the specific needs of micro and small businesses.
“Help shall be given to all – this is what the President assured his people,” Andanar said.
The Philippines has so far recorded 13,434 Covid-19 infections, with 846 deaths and 3,000 recoveries. (IA/PNA)