No ‘epal’, alcohol, cigarettes in DILG guidelines on community pantries

Marje Pelayo   •   April 29, 2021   •   505

MANILA, Philippines – The Department of the Interiors and Local Government (DILG) announced the official guidelines for the conduct of community pantries in compliance with the directive of President Rodrigo Duterte.

“Ayon po sa inyong pag-uutos, gumawa po kami ng guidelines kung paano po ipapatupad itong community pantry sapagkat itong community pantry ay isa sa pwedeng maging dahilan sa pagsimula ng surge o ng spike,” DILG Secretary Eduardo Año told the president during Wednesday’s public briefing.

During his report, Año enumerated the salient points in conducting a community pantry.

Firstly, organizers need not secure a permit prior to setting up a community pantry as this will only be an additional burden to them.

“Kailangan ang masusing koordinasyon sa lahat ng LGU, sapagkat kailangan compliant sa batas at ordinansa ang lahat ng organizers,” Año said.

Secondly, illegal items such as alcoholic beverages and cigarettes are not allowed in community pantries.

“Walang illegal na bagay at harmful items, kasama ang alcohol at cigarettes na ipapamahagi rito sa community pantry,” the official noted.

Thirdly, minimum health standards must be observed at all times. Violation of the standard health protocols are considered as strong grounds for the termination of the community pantry as this can cause a surge or spike in COVID-19 cases.

Fourthly, organizers and the LGU are not allowed to collect any fee whatsoever for any item in the pantry.

Año specified the important role that the LGU takes during the conduct of a community pantry.

He said, it is the LGU that would determine the venue of the community pantry to ensure it is set up in areas where most indigents reside.

The LGU will also be the one to link the organizers to potential suppliers of goods in support of local producers and at the same time contribute to the LGU’s economy.

One important task for the LGU is maintaining peace and order throughout the conduct of the community pantry because organizers might not be able to handle the possible surge of people.

Members of the Philippine National Police (PNP), the barangay tanod and other officials as well as volunteers must be tapped for crowd control.

Fifthly, Año said organizers must establish a system for reaching members of the vulnerable sector, specifically the senior citizens and persons with comorbidity who are not allowed to go outdoors.

“Ang gusto po natin dito ay talagang localized ito na kung saang barangay gagawin ay doon lang magbabandilyo,” he said.

“Hindi na kailangang may mga taong dadagsa galing sa ibang lugar. Kaya kailanhgan ay umiikot itong ating community pantry,” he added, citing the incident in Barangay Holy Spirit where actress Angel Locsin announced her community pantry on social media and consequently drawing even people from other barangays to flock to the venue breaching health protocols.

Lastly, “epals” are not allowed. This means no signage, billboard, or poster bearing the name and picture of the organizer, any politician or government officials shall be posted in community pantries.

The DILG secretary said they will send an advisory or a memorandum to the LGUs regarding the guidelines.

DILG says pilot run of new alert level system in NCR ‘so far, so good’

Marje Pelayo   •   September 17, 2021

MANILA, Philippines — The Department of the Interior and Local Government (DILG) said the launch of the new alert level system in the National Capital Region (NCR) on Thursday (September 16) has been good so far.

“Maayos po ang ating pilot run the first day of implementation ng new alert level system. In fact, malinaw sa mga local government units ang mga pamantayan,” said DILG Undersecretary Jonathan Malaya.

The official said the LGUs deployed their respective inspectors to different establishments to verify the vaccination status of patrons dining in restaurants.

Malaya said that even though the new policy poses a huge challenge to the department, they are confident that with the help and cooperation of the agencies and the public, the purpose of the alert level system will be achieved especially against the COVID-19 pandemic.

“Malaking hamon po ito sa DILG kaya kahapon po nagbigay ng kautusan si Sec. Año na lahat ng LGUs, kasama na rin ang NCRPO, na paigtingin ang enforcement ng minimum health standards ng mga establisyemento na ina-allow to operate,” he said.

“Kahit na rin po ang ating mga kababayan, ang kanilang adherence to minimum public health standards,” he added.

Under the Alert Level 4, mass gatherings like concerts, wedding receptions, birthday parties, family reunions, parades and alike, as well as gatherings in residences with one person outside of the immediate household are strictly not allowed.

“Para po masiguro ang compliance ng ating mga kababayan dito sa mga regulasyon na ito, nagbigay po ng direktiba si Sec. Año sa ating mga barangay, kapulisan, at LGUs na mag-deploy at mag-reactivate ng kanilang mga COVID marshal, barangay at disiplina brigade, at mga police marshal,” Malaya said.

Alert Level 4 is the second highest classification imposed on  areas wherein case counts are alarming with total bed utilization rate and intensive care unit utilization at critical level.

Sec. Año supports a more relaxed quarantine restriction in Metro Manila

Marje Pelayo   •   September 13, 2021

MANILA, Philippines — Secretary Eduardo Año said the Department of the Interior and Local Government (DILG) is still studying whether or not to implement a more relaxed restriction in the National Capital Region (NCR) without discriminating against those who are not yet vaccinated.

Año, however, indicated that he is more inclined to favor downgrading the restriction in the capital saying it is about time.

“In Metro Manila, I will give my all honest opinion with the high percentage of vaccination, it’s about time to really give some additional privilege to the vaccinated. It will also encourage other people to be vaccinated,” he said.

Among those who support the relaxation of quarantine restrictions is Go Negosyo founder and Presidential Adviser for Entrepreneurship Joey Concepcion.

He said that a more relaxed restriction should now be imposed in areas where the majority of the population is already vaccinated such as in the NCR.

“I think we should move forward and really test it because how do you live with COVID if even the vaccinated will not be allowed movement,” Concepcion said.

The Metro Manila Council (MMC) said it agrees with Concepcion and even released a resolution to urge the Inter-Agency Task Force (IATF) to approve such proposal although the mayors support the strict implementation of the health and safety protocol to prevent further spread of COVID-19.

“It means that we are one with the call of Mr. Concepcion or even of the businessmen to urge IATF to consider the easing of the guidelines; however, it is subject to the study of interdisciplinary,” said MMC and Metropolitan Manila Development Authority concurrent chairman Benhur Abalos.

At present, over 50% of the NCR’s population are fully vaccinated, 80% if to include those who received their first dose.

The IATF is now finalizing the guidelines for the new quarantine classifications using the new alert level system. MNP (with reports from Rey Pelayo)

Pagpapatupad ng granular sa halip na malawakang lockdown sa mga lalawigan, pinag-aaralan na – DILG

Robie de Guzman   •   August 26, 2021

MANILA – Ikino-konsidera ngayon ng Department of the Interior and Local Government (DILG) na huwag na magpatupad ng malawakang lockdown sa mga lalawigan o rehiyon upang mapigilan ang pagkalat ng COVID-19.

Ayon kay DILG Usec. Epimaco Densing, sa halip na malawakang lockdown ay granular na lamang gagawin na naka-sentro lamang sa mga partikular na lugar na may mataas na kaso ng COVID-19.

Ibig sabihin, ang lokal na pamahalaan na ang magpapasya kung ilang lugar sa kanilang mga nasasakupan ang isasailalim sa lockdown upang mapigilan ang pagkalat ng coronavirus.

“Hahayaan po natin ang mga lokal na gobyerno at ating mga gobernardor at mga mayor na magdeklara ng mga granular lockdowns. Dito sa granular lockdowns, makakasiguro po tayo na walang paggalaw ang mga tao,” ani Densing.

Una nang sinabi ng Department of Health (DOH) na hindi na kailangan ang malawakan at mahabang lockdown period para mas mapabilis ang detection, isolation, at contact tracing ng mga nagpositibo sa COVID-19.

Ayon kay Densing, tutulungan ng national government ang mga lokal na pamahalaan sa pagbibigay ng ayuda sa mga residenteng maaapektuhan ng granular lockdown.

“Ang usapan po nito na ang national government po ay tutulong sa ating lokal na gobyerno para punan ang kanilang pangangailangan lalo na sa pagkain itong mga lugar lugar na kanilang ilalagay sa mga lockdown,” ang wika ng opisyal.

Bukod sa implementasyon ng granular lockdown, inatasan na rin ng DILG ang mga lokal na pamahalaan na maghanda pa ng mas maraming isolation facilities.

Ito’y upang mahigpit na maipagbawal ang home quarantine, at mapigilan ang hawaan ng sakit lalo na sa mga nakatira sa iisang bahay.

Bukod sa quarantine hotels, inatasan na rin ng DILG ang mga lokal na opisyal na maghanap ng mga bakanteng motel at gusali na maaring gamitin bilang isolation facilties.

“Sa ngayon po hindi maganda yung ating statistika, dahil inaabot po ng 12 araw bago po ma-isolate ang isang kumpirmado nang COVID-19 positive ayon sa talaan ng Department of Health sa aming paguusap. Gusto po nating paiikliin ito ng anim na araw,” ani Densing. – RRD (mula sa ulat ni Correspondent JP Nunez)

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