President Rodrigo Duterte has warned local chief executives that the instructions for the month-long enhanced community quarantine over Luzon would go beyond.
Duterte told local government units (LGUs) in a taped speech aired early Friday that it is the national government that will “call the shots” and it is the duty of the LGUs to comply in the midst of the ongoing 2019 coronavirus (COVID-19) crisis.
He stated that he was a mayor himself, in case that they forget, but this is a national emergency and it is only the national government that should call the shots.
He is emphasizing that all LGUs will obey the guidelines laid down by the Inter-Agency Task Force (IATF) for the management of emerging infectious diseases.
Those who will overdo stuff, Duterte cautioned, will face disciplinary or even criminal charges.
The President issued the stern warning after Pasig City Mayor Vico Sotto allowed ferry health workers and those exempted from the travel restriction under the lockdown to operate tricycles in his town.
Nevertheless, the change by the Pasig mayor did not sit well with the outstanding guidelines laid down by the national government during the quarantine period. Cabinet Secretary Karlo Nograles said allowing tricycle operations would expose the coronavirus to more people.
Meanwhile, the Department of the Interior and Local Government (DILG) has told Sotto to be more innovative in addressing the health problem and look at how other LGUs are expected to tackle the transport issue.
On Monday night, Duterte put the entire island of Luzon under community quarantine in a bid to arrest the country’s growing cases of coronavirus, forcing over 50 million Filipinos to stay at home as public transportation was suspended and a compulsory home quarantine was enforced.
The President then directed the DILG and the Justice Department to closely track the LGU’s compliance in the lockdown process and file necessary charges against foolish local officials.