Ilocos Norte

Laoag city mayor gets DILG warning for COVID-19 protocol breach

John Michael Mugas
Laoag city mayor gets DILG warning for COVID-19 protocol breach

Laoag City Mayor Michael Marcos Keon visit the public market.

Michael Keon Facebook

The DILG warns Laoag city Mayor Michael Marcos Keon that he faces stiffer sanctions if he continues violating COVID-19 health protocols

Laoag Mayor Michael Marcos Keon received on Wednesday, October 27, an “admonition” from the Department of the Interior and Local Government (DILG) over his failure to observe minimum public health standards against COVID-19.

Charito Malicad, information officer of the Laoag city government, confirmed receipt of the admonition, which stemmed from an anonymous complaint over Keon’s breach of health protocols.

The complaint led to an August 16 show-cause order by Secretary Eduardo M. Año.

In a radio interview on Wednesday, Malicad said that the complaint against Keon contained allegations of protocol breach while he was performing his duty as mayor in line with the COVID-19 response of the city. This included not wearing a face mask and face shield.

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“Being a local chief executive, you (Keon) are mandated to discharge the powers and functions granted to you by law, express, implied, and necessary, to ensure that the laws, rules, and regulation are faithfully implemented,” the DILG said.

Keon was warned by the DILG that a sterner sanction would be imposed if he would be reported again as breaking COVID-19 health protocols.

This is not the first time that DILG served a show-cause order on Keon. In December 2020, DILG also required Keon to explain a mass gathering he organized for Christmas after photos of the event circulated across social media and drew the ire of city residents.

Malicad, however, said the mayor had not been wearing his face shield in public because it affected his vision. This was certified by Keon’s eye doctor, Malicad said.

The mayor also religiously used a face mask during his public appearances, according to Malicad.

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“The mayor would no longer take so much time to find out who the [anonymous] complainant [was] as he would [focus] on performing his job,” said Malicad.

Keon is seeking reelection as Laoag city mayor in the 2022 elections. He, however, would be running as an independent candidate after his relatives from the Marcos clan dropped him in the race for the position.

The Marcos family is backing another candidate, incumbent Laoag City Vice Mayor Vicentito “Toto” Lazo, for the mayoral post, according to an October 9 statement from Governor Matthew Marcos Manotoc, Keon’s nephew. – Rappler.com

John Michael Mugas is a Luzon-based fellow and an awardee of the Aries Rufo Journalism Fellowship.