President Rodrigo Duterte has warned on Friday local government units (LGUs) to follow the national government’s guidelines in the implementation of the enhanced community quarantine over Luzon in a plan to combat the spread of the coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-1), otherwise face charges.
Duterte directed the Department of the Interior and Local Government (DILG) and the Department of Justice (DOJ) to monitor and study possible charges against LGUs that do not comply.
“Let us work together to implement this quarantine. To do otherwise would sow confusion,” he said, in an address streamed online early Friday morning.
Duterte called out LGUs that implemented its own policies which were different from those set by the Inter-Agency Task Force on Emerging Infectious Diseases (IATF-EID).
“Do note make this quarantine more difficult for the people than it already is,” Duterte warned.
“LGUs should take note of this,” said Duterte.
“If you go beyond the standards that we have set, you are abusing your authority,” he warned.
Duterte’s spokesman also earlier cited his warning on Thursday, as he urged LGUs to follow the enhanced community quarantine guidelines set by the national government or face charges.
During an interview with ANC, Presidential Spokesperson Salvador Panelo reminded local government executives that the country is under a national emergency and that they should follow what the national government says.
“Sabi ni Presidente, you have to follow the guidelines. You cannot go beyond the guidelines. Hindi puwedeng magkakaniya-kaniya tayo. Otherwise, those who’ll go against the guidelines will have to face administrative charges and criminal charges (The president said you have to follow the guidelines. You cannot go beyond the guidelines. It is not the time to do things your way. Otherwise, those who’ll go against the guidelines will have to face administrative charges and criminal charges),” said Panelo.
Panelo stressed it is the national government who’s “calling the shots.”
“Kailangan bawat isa ay sumunod kung ano ang national government guidelines. In other words, the national government will be calling the shots because we are in a national emergency (Everyone should follow the national government guidelines. In other words, the national government will be calling the shots because we are in a national emergency.),” Panelo said.
Duterte called out local governments supposedly implementing different policies when it comes to the movement of cargo and goods.
“When the (IATF) says do not restrict the cargo of whatever type, then no LGU should say they only allow food or essential goods to come in. You are already setting your standards and making this quarantine more difficult for all,” Duterte said.
The Department of Trade and Industry (DTI) earlier assured that vehicles transporting essential goods such as food, medicine, and medical equipment will be free to move.
He underscored the need that the programs from the national government will cascade down to the local government units.
He also stressed the need for the coordination of programs from the national government down to the local government units.
“We move in one direction in one unison precisely to place the contagion in control for the better health of the Filipino people, for the country,” he said.
“Sundin na lang natin, para naman ito sa lahat (Let’s just follow, this is for everyone),” Duterte said.
The Palace earlier dismissed appeals from Pasig Mayor Vico Sotto to allow tricycles to continue operating amid the quarantine to transport essential workers and people who need to go to hospitals.
Sotto initially allowed tricycles to continue plying the roads of Pasig despite the enforcement of the quarantine.
Sotto later on retracted his order to comply with the national government./Stacy Ang