Relief ops during pandemic must be coordinated with LGUs, says DILG
MANILA, Philippines – Relief operations conducted by the private sector as a response to the COVID-19 pandemic must be coordinated with local government units (LGUs), the Department of the Interior and Local Government (DILG) said on Monday.
Interior Secretary Eduardo Año explained that while providing aid to people economically affected by the lockdown is very much welcome, these should be done with the assistance of LGUs, which can ensure that physical distancing measures and other regulations.
Año’s remarks came on the heels of the arrest of activists and volunteers in Quezon City and Marikina last Friday, Labor Day, as they were distributing food packs to workers affected by the enhanced community quarantine (ECQ) over several areas nationwide.
“Helping is a beautiful deed, lalo na ngayong tayo ay nasa krisis [especially now that we are in a crisis]. The ECQ measures are enforced not to curtail the people’s rights, especially the ones who are generous to share and help their fellow Filipinos, but to ensure that coronavirus doesn’t spread,” Año said in a statement.
“Itong pagtulong sa pamamagitan ng pamimigay ng relief goods ay hinihikayat, dapat lang ay ipaalam sa mga LGU [This act of helping and distributing relief goods is being encouraged, but it should be coordinated with the LGUs],” he added.
Aside from the incident involving activists, former Senator Jinggoy Estrada briefly stayed at the police headquarters after he was invited by police officers to explain allegations of distributing relief goods while violating ECQ regulations.
Estrada, whose clan has ruled the city for a long time, have traded barbs with incumbent San Juan Mayor Francis Zamora. The former senator claims that the move by the police was motivated by politics.
Año noted that they also received reports that some people doing relief work do not even have quarantine passes, which makes them violators of the ECQ.
“Yung ibang mga nagdi-distribute ay walang quarantine pass, hence, they are not authorized to get out of their residence. Nakita ko din na may mga paglabag sa physical distancing at mayroon na din mga bata at senior na lumabas ng bahay,” Año said.
(Other people distributing goods do not have any quarantine passes, hence they are not authorized to get out of their residences. We saw several violations of physical distancing and there are also children and seniors leaving their homes.)
“Nakakasigurado po kayo na mabilis na aaksyunan ng mga LGUs ang mga bagay na ito. Hindi naman sila hahadlang na mabigyan ng karagdagan pang tulong ang ating mga kababayan,” he added.
(We can assure that the LGUs would quickly resolve these issues. They would not prevent people from providing additional assistance to other people.)
As of now, several areas like Metro Manila, Region 3, and Region IV-A remain under the ECQ due to the high coronavirus infection rates. The Department of Health said on Friday that there are now 9,485 patients infected with the coronavirus around the country, of which 623 have died and 1,315 have recovered.
Worldwide, over 3.51 million individuals have been infected, while at least 247,565 have died from the disease and over 1.12 million have recovered from it.
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