MANILA, Philippines – Local government units (LGUs) will now have to seek the national government’s approval should they plan to impose an enhanced community quarantine (ECQ) in their jurisdictions.
Interior Secretary Eduardo Año in a Malacañang briefing on Friday, April 24, said the LGUs’ plans would have to go through the Inter-Agency Task Force on Emerging Infectious Diseases (IATF-EID).
“Ngayon po, hindi na po p’wede mag-unilateral declaration ang isang local chief executive na ilagay niya ang isang probinsya sa ECQ. Ito ay kailangang aprubado ng IATF,” Año said. (Now, a local chief executive can no longer make a unilateral declaration to place a province under ECQ. It has to be approved by the IATF.)
Following President Rodrigo Duterte’s order to put Metro Manila and then the entire Luzon on lockdown in mid-March, several LGUs in the Visayas and Mindanao declared lockdowns on their own, sometimes with measures that were reportedly stricter than what the national government had imposed.
Año said on Friday LGUs that would insist on imposing lockdowns on their own would not receive their allocated emergency cash aid for poor families from the national government. The emergency subsidy amounts to P5,000 to P8,000 per household per month for two months, the bulk of which has yet to be disbursed to families.
“Pati sa pagbigay ng suporta sa SAP (Social Amelioration Program) ay hindi siya makakatanggap kung ito naman ay hindi sanction o na-allow ng national government,” Año said. (They will not receive the allocated support for emergency cash aid if the lockdown is not sanctioned or allowed by the national government.)
President Duterte on Friday essentially placed the rest of the country under the general community quarantine, except for Metro Manila and other high risk provinces which remained in total lockdown until May 15. (EXPLAINER: What happens under general community quarantine?)
Some areas in the Visayas and Mindanao, including Cebu City and Davao City, will also be on lockdown until May 15, but this is can be reassessed before April 30, depending on how well they would be managing the outbreak.
As of Friday afternoon, the Philippines has 7,192 coronavirus cases, 477 of whom have died. At least 762 patients have already recovered from the virus. – Rappler.com