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

Robie de Guzman   •   February 3, 2020   •   437

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.

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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