The Department of the Interior and Local Government (DILG) has directed all local government units (LGUs) and the Philippine National Police (PNP) to implement a crackdown on quarantine violators and intensify the enforcement of minimum health standards in all barangays as new COVID-19 cases has reached more than 3,000 cases a day for three days now.
DILG Officer-in-Charge Bernardo C. Florece, Jr. directed Joint Task Force Shield Commander PLtGen Cesar Hawthorne Binag to increase police deployment and strictly enforce minimum public health standards in Pasay, Malabon, Navotas, Cebu City and Cebu Province, which have registered a spike in cases in the recent days.
"Naging kampante ang ating mga LGUs maging ang PNP sa enforcement ng ating mga minimum health standards kayat inaatasan ko ang ating mga local officials kasama ang mga barangay at kapulisan na puspusang ipatupad ang basic health protocols sa lahat ng barangay sa ating bansa," said Florece.
The DILG OIC said wearing of face masks and face shields and physical distancing should be strictly imposed in all LGUs and violators should be fined based on the prevailing ordinances. He said temperature checks and filling out contact tracing forms manually or thru the Stay Safe app should also be a must in all establishments and work places.
He also ordered the deployment of additional contact tracers in areas with rising cases to aid the local contact tracing teams in identifying close contacts and having them tested.
Florece also directed the PNP to strictly enforce the prevailing curfews imposed by LGUs in certain areas which has been adjusted by some to 10 pm – 5 am. “Violators should be fined or otherwise penalized for violating all health protocols,” he added.
"Isang taon na tayong nakalockdown kaya dapat memorize na natin ito. Gawin na nating bahagi ng araw-araw na pamumuhay natin ang pagsunod sa basic health protocols para hindi na tumaas pa ang mga kaso," he said.
Based on the latest Department of Health case bulletin, the total number of active cases in the country reached 3,045 last Friday, 3,439 on Saturday, and 3,276 on Sunday. Cases in the National Capital Region, Region 7 and Calabarzon reached 1,533, 491, and 341, respectively, on Sunday.
Florece said LGUs should have enacted local ordinances providing sanctions to those who violate the minimum health standards set by the national government thru the Interagency Task Force on the Management of Emerging Infectious Diseases (IATF-MEID). “If the ordinance they passed have no penal clause, they should immediately amend this because an ordinance with penalties have no teeth,” he added.
"Kailangang patawan ng kaukulang sanctions ng mga LGUs ang mga matitigas ang ulo na hindi sumusunod sa health protocols. Ang pagsuway at pagkakamali ng iilan ay katumbas ng mas maraming kaso," he said.
According to Florece, LGUs can reverse the rising trend of coronavirus cases by ensuring no lag time from symptom onset, testing, contact tracing, and isolation and in strictly implementing the 10-day isolation and 14-day quarantine for those positive and with symptoms.
"LGUs should also see to it that there is good ventilation in work spaces and other settings to prevent the transmission of the virus," he said.
He said that LGUs can implement localized lockdown within a town, city, sitio, street, or block without the need to request approval from the IATF.
Discipline is key
Meanwhile, DILG Spokesperson and Undersecretary Jonathan E. Malaya stressed the important role of the Barangay Disiplina brigades to prevent the spread of the virus.
"Let us politely call out each other if we observe simple breaches of health protocols. Huwag nating iasa lahat sa gobyerno at kapulisan. Bantayan natin ang isa't isa para ang lahat ay sumusunod, sa health guidelines ng IATF," he said.
Malaya said a small breach in protocols could lead to higher transmission of the virus more cases and possibly deaths. "Sayang ang isang taon nating pagsasakripisyo kung magrerelax tayo ngayon. Lahat tayo ay dapat maging bida sa pagiging disiplinado at hindi maging pasaway," he said.
Citing the acronym of the BIDA ang May Disiplina Program, Malaya reminded the public to observe the following health protocols whenever they need to go out of their homes or travel to their favorite destinations:
B-awal ang walang face mask; I-sanitize ang mga kamay; D-umistansya ng isang metro; A-lamin ang totoong impormasyon.