Department of the Interior and Local Government (DILG) Secretary Eduardo M. Año is prodding local government units (LGUs) to enact ordinances that would make discipline as the new normal as a non-medical measure to fight COVID-19 as part of the Department’s broader Disiplina Muna campaign.
“Now that the government is easing quarantine restrictions to balance public health with the need to reopen the economy, we must institute measures to promote discipline and individual responsibility among our people through local legislation,” he said Tuesday.
The DILG Chief said these ordinances that prescribe discipline includes following health safety protocols like wearing a face mask in public, sanitizing hands, doing at least one-meter physical distancing, observing cough etiquette, and staying at home for children and senior citizens.
“I encourage LGUs from provincial to barangay sanggunians to make use of their legislative power to enact ordinances on ‘discipline as the new normal’ to beat COVID-19. By instituting individual discipline, we can defeat COVID-19,” he pointed out.
The DILG Secretary reminded the public about the World Health Organization (WHO)’s warning that COVID-19 is merely biding its time waiting for people to let their guards down. The WHO said that even in countries that haven’t seen any cases recently, COVID-19 hasn’t gone away for good.
WHO advises people to avoid the three Cs: confined and closed spaces with poor ventilation, crowded places, close-contact settings, especially where people have close-range conversations.
Police can’t police every person
Año said he supports Joint Task Force COVID Shield Commander Lt. Gen. Guillermo Eleazar’s recommendation for LGUs to have an ordinance to sustain public health safety measures and foster shared responsibility for COVID-free communities.
“His proposal is good. It’s true that the police cannot police everyone all the time. Police can’t do it alone in making sure that all continue to follow health safety practices. Every Filipino must do his responsibility. If there’s an ordinance, it imposes a duty to obey, involves a sanction, promotes order, and benefits all,” the DILG Chief said.
Eleazar recently said that some LGUs have passed their ordinances imposing a penalty on people who would be caught not wearing face masks in public places and violating the quarantine protocols on physical distancing.
Disiplina Muna campaign adopted by PNP
To walk the talk on discipline, the PNP launched the Disiplina Muna national advocacy campaign in the PNP National Headquarters and all Regional Police Offices across the country.
“Tandaan po natin, lalo na mga pulis at nasa frontline—lalong-lalo na sa mga nasa lansangan, kayo ang show window ng pulisya. The discipline that you display reflects on the character of the PNP organization as a whole,” said DILG Undersecretary for Peace and Order Bernardo C. Florece, Jr. during the launch in Camp Crame.
“Patunayan natin na tayo ay may disiplina. Higit sa lahat, may malasakit, may dangal, at puso, pinakahigit sa lahat at may takot sa Diyos,” he urged.
The launching is in line with DILG Memorandum Circular No. 2019-18 directing the Department’s attached agencies and LGUs to roll out the campaign in their respective organizations and jurisdictions.
The Disiplina Muna campaign is one of the DILG’s projects as Chair of the Cabinet’s Participatory Governance Cluster. It seeks to rebuild the culture of discipline among Filipinos to foster people’s participation as one of the tenets of good governance.
Florece lauded the PNP for adopting the campaign, which cuts across government, private sector, civil society, and the media. He said that the campaign’s relevance is imminent in the current pandemic and the post-COVID-19 era.
The campaign has earned support from the public as well as from celebrities like Mateo Guidicelli, Diether Ocampo, Paolo Bediones, and James Deakin.