DILG tells LGUs public events may proceed but observe anti-COVID-19 measures

Robie de Guzman   •   February 18, 2020   •   393

MANILA, Philippines – Local government units (LGU) may still organize and hold public gatherings, meetings and festivals despite the threat of novel coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) as long as all precautionary measures against the virus are strictly observed, the Department of the Interior and Local Government (DILG) said.

In a statement, DILG Undersecretary and Spokesperson Jonathan Malaya said the implementation of the new policy follows the meeting last Friday of the Inter-Agency Task Force on Emerging Infectious Diseases, which include the Department of Health (DOH), and the Department of Tourism (DOT).

The DOH earlier urged the public to refrain from going to crowded places and other public gatherings in a bid to curb the spread of the deadly virus.

Following DOH’s advise, some local government units have cancelled their scheduled festivals and other public events for this month.

“While they may continue with public gatherings at their discretion, we wish to remind the general public to wash your hands regularly, and to seek medical attention if signs of cough, colds, sore throat and fever appear,” Malaya said.

He also said that LGUs should strictly implement the guidelines, which include monitoring all participants to public events with infrared thermometers, providing all their participants with hand sanitizers or 70% isopropyl alcohol, asking everyone to use surgical masks, and providing wastebaskets for the proper disposal of all types of wastes.

“If the LGU decides to push through with their public events, they should discourage those with cough, colds, sore throat and fever from attending and they should have medical personnel on standby for any eventuality. Moreover, they should closely coordinate with their DOH counterparts so that they are properly guided,” he added.

The DILG’s call comes at the heels of President Rodrigo Duterte’s appeal to Filipinos to visit local tourism sites to help boost the country’s tourism sector amid the threat of novel coronavirus.

Duterte earlier said he is planning to travel around the Philippines as he assures the public that it is safe to visit the country’s tourism spots.

“To my fellow Filipinos, I encourage you to travel with me around the Philippines. I assure you that everything is safe in our country, be it an issue of health, be it an issue of law and order, and be it an issue of accessibility,” he said.

Mga benepisyaryo ng 4Ps, hindi kailangang mag-fill-out ng SAC form – DILG

Robie de Guzman   •   April 6, 2020

MANILA, Philippines – Hindi kailangang pumirma o mag-sumite ng Social Amelioration Card (SAC) forms ang mga benepisyaryo ng Pantawid Pamilyang Pilipino Program (4Ps) upang makatanggap ng pinansyal na ayuda mula sa pamahalaan sa gitna ng COVID-19 crisis.

Ayon kay Department of the Interior and Local Government (DILG) Secretary Eduardo Año, ito ay dahil direkta nang ipapasok sa kanilang account ang pinansyal na tulong para sa kanila sa ilalim ng Social Amelioration Program Bayanihan Fund.

“Hindi na kailangan pang magfill out ng SAC form ang 4Ps dahil sila ang pinrioritize ng pamahalaan at makukuha na nila ang kanilang cash subsidies sa kanilang ATM,” ani Año.

Dagdag ng opisyal, batay sa impormasyon mula sa Department of Social Welfare and Development (DSWD), simula ngayong ika-6 ng Abril ay maaari nang makuha ng 4Ps beneficiaries sa Bangsamoro Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao ang ayuda mula sa kanilang cash cards.

Noong Abril 5 ay nakatanggap na rin ng ayuda ang 4Ps beneficiaries mula sa mga rehiyon ng CALABARZON, MIMAROPA, Region 8, 10, 11, 12 at CARAGA.

Ang mga benepisyaryo naman ng programa sa Region 5, 6, 7 at 9 ay nakatanggap na rin ng tulong pinansyal mula sa pamahalaan noon pang April 4.

Ang unang bugso ng cash subsidy ay inilabas noong April 3 sa 4Ps beneficiaries sa Metro Manila, Cordillera Administrative Region, Region 1, 2 at 3, ayon sa DILG.

“Patunay po ito ng pagkalinga at pagmamalasakit ng pamahalaan sa gitna ng public health emergency na dinaranas natin ngayon. Kaya kapit lang po at dalangin nating lahat na matapos na ang masamang panaginip ng COVID-19,” ayon kay Año.

Para sa 4Ps beneficiaries na wala pang cash card accounts, sinabi ni Año na naipasa na ang pondo sa tanggapan ng DSWD sa mga rehiyon na siyang mangangasiwa sa pamamahagi ng ayuda.

Nakikipag-ugnayan na sa ngayon ang DSWD sa mga lokal na pamahalaan na nakakasakop sa mga pamilyang ito na nakatakdang tumanggap ng emergency subsidy.

“The urgent matter now is to ensure that the other low-income families qualified under the SAP will be able to fill out the form and comply with the DSWD requirements so they too can avail of the government support intended for them,” Año said.

Sinabi ng DILG chief na mahigit sa P16 bilyong pisong halaga ng emergency subsidy ang ibinigay sa mahigit 3.7 milyong pamilya na nakikinabang sa 4Ps program.

Ang naturang pondo ay bahagi ng P200 bilyon na inilaan para sa COVID-19 response ng pamahalaan sa ilalim ng Bayanihan to Heal as One Act.

Bukod pa ito sa regular na ayuda na cash at rice allowance na ibinibigay ng pamahalaan sa mga mahihirap na pamilyang nakikinabang sa 4Ps.

LGUs urged to pass ordinance on mandatory use of face mask in public

Robie de Guzman   •   April 6, 2020

MANILA, Philippines – The Department of the Interior and Local Government (DILG) on Monday urged the local government units (LGU) to pass an ordinance requiring their constituents to wear face masks in public as a precautionary measure to prevent the spread of novel coronavirus disease (COVID-19).

In a statement, DILG Secretary Eduardo Año said the issuance of a local policy will help combat the spread of the virus.

The Inter-Agency Task Force for the Management of Emerging Infectious Diseases (IATF-EID) earlier issued a resolution on the mandatory use of face mask in public to curb the spread of coronavirus.

Año said that with the surging number of infections in the country, LGUs must adapt and respond to challenges posed by the public health crisis, such as drafting of the said ordinance.

“We must be vigilant. Hindi biro ang coronavirus na ito kaya hinihikayat ko ang mga LGU na tiyakin na ang kanilang mga kababayan ay laging nakasuot ng face mask kapag sila ay lalabas sa pamamagitan ng pagsasabatas ng ordinansa ukol dito. This is our small way of ensuring that the virus will not spread,” Año said.

He also said that the government will accept home-made or improvised face masks as long as the people use it in public.

“Coupled with the other mechanisms currently existing in line with the enhanced community quarantine (ECQ) such as physical distancing, usage of quarantine passes, and encouraging people to stay at home, among others, the mandatory wearing of face masks whenever people are outside is an additional measure that can be practiced within the community,” he added.

The World Health Organization (WHO) initially recommended that community-level usage of face masks is not encouraged, noting that it should only be worn by health care workers and people who are ill.

Año however, noted reports that the WHO and the United States Centers for Disease Control and Prevention are mulling on changing their stand on the usage of face masks in controlling coronavirus following a study which suggests that droplets from coughs and sneezes from an infected person could be projected further than originally thought.

“Despite the fact that people generally are staying at home, hindi pa rin naman natin maiiwasan na minsan ay lumabas sila para bumili ng pagkain at ibang essentials at maaari itong maging pagkakataon para maipasa ang virus kaya lubhang napakahalaga ng pagsusuot ng face masks,” he said.

The Philippine National Police echoed the DILG’s call to LGUs, saying police officers can only reprimand people who do not wear face masks in public in the absence of an ordinance.

“Sa ngayon, what we can do is to caution them, para sila ay pauwiin or deny them entry sa ating mga quarantine controlled points,” said Police Lieutenant General Guillermo Eleazar who heads the Joint Task Force Coronavirus Shield.

DILG to issue show cause order vs Rizal town mayor refusing burial for 2 Muslim COVID-19 fatalities

Robie de Guzman   •   April 2, 2020

MANILA, Philippines – The Department of the Interior and Local Government (DILG) on Thursday said it will issue a show-cause order against a Rizal town mayor for allegedly refusing to allow the burial in their area of two Muslim Filipinos who recently succumbed to novel coronavirus disease (COVID-19).

In a statement, DILG Secretary Eduardo Año said the action of the mayor of Montalban, Rizal is “a clear defiance of government guidelines on burial amid the public health situation in the country.”

Año said the mayor reportedly refused to sign the applications for burial permits, forcing the families of the deceased to bring the bodies to a Muslim cemetery in Norzagaray, Bulacan where they were laid to rest.

The first victim died on March 22 but was only buried after almost two days while the second died on March 30.

“Limitado ang Muslim cemeteries dito sa Metro Manila. Huwag na po sana nating dagdagan pa ang pighati ng mga namatayan na nagnanais lamang na maayos na mailagak sa huling hantungan ang kanilang namatay na mahal sa buhay,” Año said.

In the Islamic faith, the deceased is to be buried within 24 hours.

On the other hand, the guidelines of the Department of Health on the disposal and shipment of COVID-19 fatalities stipulate that burial must be done within 12 hours, with cremation as the preferred method, but “to the most possible extent, be in accordance with the person’s religion or customs.”

“We are displeased with the disregard of the town mayor of Islamic traditions and I have already ordered our legal office to issue the show cause order to the Mayor of Montalban, Rizal,” the DILG chief said.

“Imagine the inconvenience of transporting their dead all the way from Metro Manila to Rizal and passing through checkpoints only to be turned away and then traveling to Bulacan just to be able to bury their departed family member,” he added.

Año said they are currently investigating the incidents in coordination with the National Commission on Muslim Filipinos (NCMF).

He also said that the NCMF has formed a COVID-19 task force and may be reached through their hotline numbers 0919-7181289 and 0997-5017067 for questions and concerns of Muslim Filipinos nationwide.

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