COVID-19

DILG has yet to take over COVID-19-hit Cotabato town hall

Rommel Rebollido
DILG has yet to take over COVID-19-hit Cotabato town hall
The town’s mayor, Florentino Gonzaga, tests positive for COVID-19 while the vice mayor and members of the town council were exposed to an infected person

The Department of Interior and Local Government (DILG) has yet to decide on what to do with the town government of Magpet, Cotabato province, after all of its elected officials were forced to go into isolation due to COVID-19 reaching the municipal hall.

The town’s mayor, Florentino Gonzaga, tested positive for COVID-19. The vice mayor and members of the town council, meanwhile, were exposed to an infected person.

Ivy Cervantes, the town’s interior and local government officer, said on Tuesday afternoon, June 15, that neither she nor anyone from the DILG has assumed the role of caretaker of the town government.

Cervantes told Rappler, “As of now, we are waiting for the guidance and order from the (DILG) central office as to who will act as caretaker.”

She said the designation as caretaker “must emanate” from Interior Secretary Eduardo Año.

In the absence of Año’s order, Cervantes said the town’s vice mayor, Rogelio Maranon, would continue to perform the functions of the mayor in the absence of Gonzaga, who was admitted to a hospital.

Maranon and other members of the town council have quarantined themselves at home while waiting for their COVID-19 test results.

Cervantes said Maranon would have to continue running the municipal hall by working at home unless the DILG secretary says otherwise.

If a caretaker is named, Cervantes said, the designee could only exercise limited powers just to ensure that public services would remain unhampered.

She said the municipal hall would remain in operation because its departments and their heads would be around to perform their duties and functions.

A designated caretaker would have the power to approve disbursements and payments for utilities, like water bills, electricity, and telecommunications services, including the payroll for municipal employees. – Rappler.com