DILG tells LGUs to report cases, prevent spread of novel coronavirus

Robie de Guzman   •   February 3, 2020   •   691

MANILA, Philippines – The Department of the Interior and Local Government (DILG) has ordered all local government units (LGU) to report possible cases of novel coronavirus (2019-nCoV) in their respective areas, and adopt stringent measures to intensify the information campaign on the deadly virus.

In a statement released Monday, DILG Secretary Eduardo Año said local chief executives must ensure that the novel coronavirus will not spread in their respective jurisdictions following the confirmation of two infection cases in the country.  

“We need to be preventive now that there is a confirmed 2019 nCOV case in the country. Our governors, city and municipal mayors and DILG regional directors must ensure that the coronavirus will not thrive in their backyards,” he said.

The DILG chief said that under the law, local government units are in charge of the promotion of health and safety within their areas of jurisdictions.

“As such, they must take the lead in the prevention and control of the coronavirus at the local level” he added.

Año said local chief executives must consult local health officers on the guidelines and protocol on safety measures, prevention, and control of the virus in their localities.

They must also coordinate with the local police and health authorities to protect suspected cases and their next of kin, and if necessary, to put up checkpoints.

The DILG chief also directed local officials to coordinate with the Local Price Coordinating Council, monitor prices of medicines and preventive gadgets, and file charges against unscrupulous businessmen who resort to hoarding and overpricing.

Barangay officials were likewise ordered to intensity a cleanup drive by properly disposing of garbage and cleaning up the streets and waterways, and be vigilant in monitoring residents showing symptoms of the disease by immediately reporting them to health authorities.

“They should also disseminate information materials such as flyers, brochures, posters and put up billboards about the virus, and tap the local media in conveying this message,” he added.

Last week, the Department of Health (DOH) confirmed the country’s first novel coronavirus case – a 38-year old female Chinese national who traveled from Wuhan City, which is the epicenter of the outbreak.

A few days later, the DOH reported that the patient’s companion – a 44-year old man – died just days after he also tested positive for the virus.

The DOH earlier said that 2019-nCoV symptoms include cough, colds, fever, difficulty in breathing and shortness of breath which can lead to pneumonia, bronchitis, kidney problems, and even death.

As of Monday, February 3, China’s National Health Commission reported 361 deaths due to the virus with 17,205 confirmed cases in China. Around 21,558 people are suspected of being infected while 475 people have recovered and have been discharged from the hospital.

The disease outbreak in China has prompted massive lockdowns in several of its towns and cities, as well as travel ban to and from China in some countries.

Año said there is a growing global concern over the dreaded virus and that unless properly addressed, the crisis it created might have an adverse impact on business productivity, tourism, and mobility of people.

“The lack of information or misinformation about the coronavirus engenders paranoia where coronavirus suspects, their next of kin, neighborhood, or community may be ostracized by the public at large,” Año said. 

“In extreme situations, lack of information or disinformation on coronavirus may even lead to social unrest in a community,” he added.

Gov’t to allow motorcycle back-riding for married, cohabiting couples starting July 10

Marje Pelayo   •   July 9, 2020

MANILA, Philippines – The Department of the Interior and Local Government (DILG) has allowed motorcycle back-riding for married and cohabiting couples beginning Friday (July 10) under certain conditions.

According to DILG Spokesperson Undersecretary Jonathan Malaya, a motorcycle rider must provide a protective shield in between him and his back ride and both must wear respective helmets and facemask.

“Kailangan po ito for safety purposes at for convenience na rin po. So instead na nakayakap tayo doon sa driver, dito na po tayo hahawak [This (shield) is for safety purposes and for convenience as well. Instead of directly embracing the driver, we will hold on to this],” Malaya explained as he demonstrated how to use the protective shield.

“So kailangan din solid din ito at naka-bolt o welded doon sa motor para maging safe for both individuals utilizing the motorcycle. [This (shield) must also be solid and bolted or welded on the motorcycle to be safe for both individuals utilizing the motorcycle],” he added.

Malaya said the DILG will release an official design of protective shield which shall be used as pattern for motorcycle riders.

“Ang importante lang po ay more or less ay sumunod tayo doon sa design na inaprubahan at ito po ay made of solid materials [What’s important is that we adhere to the approved design and it should be made of solid materials],” Malaya said.

Both riders must have a valid ID and a legal document that proves their relationship as a couple which may be presented at checkpoints.

“Pwede pong dalhin nila yung kanilang marriage certificate o kaya any government-issued ID na nakalagay doon sa likod na relationship at name ng mister o misis at address [They may bring their marriage certificate or any government-issued ID that bears at the back their relationship, the name of spouse and their address],” Malaya said.

However, Malaya clarifies that non-related back riders are still not allowed and violators will be apprehended and issued with citation tickets. MNP (with reports from Lea Ylagan)

Passengers without confirmed flights won’t be allowed at airports, DILG says

Robie de Guzman   •   July 9, 2020

MANILA, Philippines – The Department of the Interior and Local Government (DILG) on Thursday reiterated its call on passengers not to go to the airports as they will not be allowed to go in if their flights and tickets are not confirmed.

In a statement, DILG Undersecretary and Spokesperson Jonathan Malaya said strict health protocols are being implemented in airports amid the novel coronavirus disease (COVID-19) pandemic and operations of airlines and other transportation companies are bound by these rules.

With the limited flights currently allowed to operate, Malaya stressed that “going to the airport without a confirmed flight or ticket is a waste of energy and time and will just lead to frustration.”

He advised passengers to contact the airlines to ensure that their flights are confirmed to avoid inconvenience.

He also reminded passengers that all tickets purchased prior to the pandemic have already been cancelled by the airlines and will need to be rebooked based on the new schedule of flights approved by airport authorities.

“Patuloy po ang paalala natin sa ating mga kababayan na huwag pong magpunta sa mga airport or seaports kung wala po tayong confirmed na flight,” he said.

“Mangyari lamang po na makipag-ugnayan kayo sa inyong airline kung confirmed ang inyong flight. Mapapagod lang po kayo sa biyahe at masasayang ang pera ninyo at mauuwi lang po ito sa wala,” he added.

Malaya also said that walk-in customers will not be able to purchase tickets at the airports as all flights are regulated in coordination with the airline companies.

“Even if you were issued a ticket by the airline, you will have to confirm that prior to going to the airport because there may have been some changes in flight schedules. Moreover, all tickets issued prior to the pandemic are canceled and will not be honored by airport authorities,” he said.

The Department of Transportation, through the Civil Aeronautics Board (CAB), earlier released an advisory requiring all airlines to secure accurate information, especially the contact details of all passengers, even those who purchased tickets from travel agencies, to ensure that they will be properly notified by the airlines if flights are canceled. Moreover, the said information may also be helpful in future contact tracing purposes.

The CAB also directed all airlines “to make appropriate public announcements advising individuals who have purchased tickets prior to the COVID-19 crisis that their flights are canceled and that they need to rebook accordingly.”

So far, only 29 airports nationwide are open for operation and even in airports allowed to operate, there are limited flight schedules upon the request of Local Government Units, the DILG said.

DILG tells LGUs to digitize transactions amid COVID-19 pandemic

Robie de Guzman   •   July 8, 2020

MANILA, Philippines – The Department of the Interior and Local Government (DILG) on Wednesday urged local government units (LGUs) to move towards digitized transactions to reduce contact and impede further transmission of novel coronavirus disease (COVID-19) as the country continues to fight the pandemic.

In a statement, DILG Secretary Eduardo Año called on LGUs to fast-track the issuance of permits and clearances in setting up crucial infrastructure needed for digital connectivity across the country including the construction of cell sites to improve internet connectivity.

“The millions working from home, the students looking forward to on-line learning, and the workers who depend on the digital economy are all expecting government to address the gaps in our internet infrastructure,” Año said.

“We therefore encourage all LGUs to beef up their digital platforms in their communities as we move towards the new normal,” he added.

He also said that going digital is the “call of the time,” but more than technological advancement, digitized government and consumer transactions are precautionary measures that can contribute immensely to impeding virus transmission.

In the same statement, DILG Undersecretary and Spokesperson Jonathan Malaya said that digital platforms can be an important partner of LGUs in ensuring the health and safety of the public while promoting economic growth. 

“You have to strike a balance. We must begin the economic recovery even as we fight COVID,” he said.

Malaya also noted that LGUs have a key role in bolstering the digital platform, not just in government services but also in building business and consumer confidence during these trying times.

He likewise said that LGUs must encourage businesses to veer towards online money transfer instead of physical payment as part of the new normal.

“Many businesses have now been engaging the financial services provided by major payment gateways such as Smart Padala, Gcash, PayMaya, Google, and Click2Pay that have drastically changed our experience in making online payments – from the conventional “pasaload” to a more sophisticated process of online payment,” he said.

Malaya also said that cashless payments have also helped in the fast distribution of the second batch of the Social Amelioration Program (SAP) subsidy.

The government likewise advocates the use of online payment for taxes and mandatory social contributions, such as GSIS, BIR, SSS, PagIBIG, and PhilHealth, he added.

“Despite some security issues that the government assures can be countered, online payment is also seen to reduce red tape and cost of doing business as all government agencies, through the Ease of Doing Business Act, are mandated to automate their processes including payment of taxes, fees, and charges,” he said.

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