Duterte warns: During crisis, national gov’t calls the shots, LGUs comply
MANILA, Philippines — President Rodrigo Duterte has warned local chief executives against “going beyond” the guidelines on the monthlong enhanced community quarantine over Luzon.
In a taped speech aired early Friday, Duterte reminded local government units (LGUs) that it is the national government that should “call the shots” and it is the LGUs’ job to comply amid the ongoing coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) crisis.
“I was a mayor myself, in case you have forgotten, but this is an emergency of national proportion and therefore it is the national government that should call the shots,” Duterte said, stressing that all LGUs should follow the rules set by the Inter-Agency Task Force (IATF) for the Management of Emerging Infectious Diseases.
Those who will “overdo things” will face administrative or even criminal charges, Duterte warned.
The President issued the stern warning after Pasig City Mayor Vico Sotto allowed tricycles to operate in his city to ferry health workers and those exempted from the travel restriction under the lockdown.
The Pasig mayor’s move, however, did not sit well with the outstanding guidelines set by the national government during the quarantine period. Cabinet Secretary Karlo Nograles said allowing tricycle operations will expose more people to the coronavirus.
The Department of the Interior and Local Government (DILG), meanwhile, told Sotto to be more creative in dealing with the health crisis and look at how other LGUs supposedly address the issue on transportation.
Duterte on Monday night placed the entire island of Luzon under community quarantine in a bid to arrest the increasing coronavirus cases in the country, forcing over 50 million Filipinos to stay at their homes as public transportation has been suspended and a mandatory home quarantine has been imposed.
The President then ordered the DILG and the Department of Justice to closely monitor the compliance of the LGUs in the lockdown procedure and file appropriate charges against wayward local officials.
“Wala namang gusto nito eh [No one wants this]. We don’t want to be lording it over your LGUs. I do not want to do that, that’s an added task. Sundin lang natin. Huwag kang magbiyahe ng sarili mo [Let’s just obey. Don’t do it your way],” he said.
Duterte further said that in the coming days, he will need the help of the LGUs as he appealed to local officials to work hand in hand with the national government.
“It should begin with LGUs and your actions should be consistent with the national government directive,” he said.
The entire Philippines is currently under a state of calamity due to the health concern.
To date, the Philippines has 217 confirmed cases of COVID-19, a respiratory disease caused by the novel coronavirus that first emerged in China’s city of Wuhan in Hubei province in late 2019.
Edited by JPV
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