DILG tells LGUs public events may proceed but observe anti-COVID-19 measures

Robie de Guzman   •   February 18, 2020   •   397

MANILA, Philippines – Local government units (LGU) may still organize and hold public gatherings, meetings and festivals despite the threat of novel coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) as long as all precautionary measures against the virus are strictly observed, the Department of the Interior and Local Government (DILG) said.

In a statement, DILG Undersecretary and Spokesperson Jonathan Malaya said the implementation of the new policy follows the meeting last Friday of the Inter-Agency Task Force on Emerging Infectious Diseases, which include the Department of Health (DOH), and the Department of Tourism (DOT).

The DOH earlier urged the public to refrain from going to crowded places and other public gatherings in a bid to curb the spread of the deadly virus.

Following DOH’s advise, some local government units have cancelled their scheduled festivals and other public events for this month.

“While they may continue with public gatherings at their discretion, we wish to remind the general public to wash your hands regularly, and to seek medical attention if signs of cough, colds, sore throat and fever appear,” Malaya said.

He also said that LGUs should strictly implement the guidelines, which include monitoring all participants to public events with infrared thermometers, providing all their participants with hand sanitizers or 70% isopropyl alcohol, asking everyone to use surgical masks, and providing wastebaskets for the proper disposal of all types of wastes.

“If the LGU decides to push through with their public events, they should discourage those with cough, colds, sore throat and fever from attending and they should have medical personnel on standby for any eventuality. Moreover, they should closely coordinate with their DOH counterparts so that they are properly guided,” he added.

The DILG’s call comes at the heels of President Rodrigo Duterte’s appeal to Filipinos to visit local tourism sites to help boost the country’s tourism sector amid the threat of novel coronavirus.

Duterte earlier said he is planning to travel around the Philippines as he assures the public that it is safe to visit the country’s tourism spots.

“To my fellow Filipinos, I encourage you to travel with me around the Philippines. I assure you that everything is safe in our country, be it an issue of health, be it an issue of law and order, and be it an issue of accessibility,” he said.

DILG urges fast-tracking of regulatory process to boost mass testing capacity

Aileen Cerrudo   •   April 8, 2020

The Department of the Interior and Local Government (DILG) has recommended fast-tracking the regulatory process so that the country can begin mass testing for coronavirus disease (COVID-19).

In an interview on ‘Get it Straight with Daniel Razon’, DILG Secretary Eduardo Año said they target to have 8,000 COVID-19 tests per day.

“Talagang target natin lahat ng persons under investigation (PUIs),” he said.

The DILG Secretary also said that mass testing would help in identifying asymptomatic individuals who are more likely to spread the virus.

He said that the Department of Health (DOH) is already working on the protocols for the antibodies rapid test kits to check more individuals who might be COVID-19 positive.

“Ia-allow na ring gamitin iyan para sa mga persons under monitoring (PUMs),” according to Año.

Meanwhile, Chief Implementor of National Plan on COVID-19 Sec. Carlito Galvez Jr. clarified that the mass testing will prioritize the targeted population including PUIs, high-risk individuals like health workers, pregnant women, and the immunocompromised.

He also said that mass testing will be first done in the National Capital Region (NCR) which records 80% of the total COVID-19 cases in the country, followed by Regions 4, 3, Davao Region, and the Zamboanga Peninsula.

“We will focus more on testing so that we could detect and immediately isolate possible carriers,” he said. AAC (with reports from Dante Amento)

LGUs to get P30.8 billion ‘Bayanihan grant’ to boost fight against COVID-19 – DILG

Robie de Guzman   •   April 7, 2020

MANILA, Philippines – The Department of the Interior and Local Government (DILG) on Tuesday announced that the Office of the President has approved the release of P30.8 billion “Bayanihan Grant to Cities and Municipalities” amid the COVID-19 crisis.

DILG Secretary Eduardo Año said the fund will be released to boost the capacities of local government units (LGU) in responding to the needs of their constituents during the public health situation.

“Nauunawaan ng national government ang malaking hamon na hinaharap ng local government units (LGUs) sa pagtugon sa pangangailangan ng kanilang mga constituents sa gitna ng COVID-19 crisis,” he said.

“Sa pamamagitan ng Bayanihan Grant to Cities and Municipalities, magkakaroon na ng karagdagang kapasidad ang ating mga LGUs na bumili ng mga kagamitan at tulungan ang mga taong lubos na apektado ng krisis na ito,” he added.

Año said the one-time grant to cities and municipalities is equivalent to one month of their Internal Revenue Allotment.

It will be sourced from the discontinued projects of some government agencies under Republic Act 11465 or FY 2020 General Appropriations Act.

The DILG chief stressed that the funds should be solely used for programs, projects, and activities related to COVID-19.

These include the purchase of relief goods for low-income and vulnerable households; procurement of personal protective equipment for frontline service providers, medicines and vitamins, hospital equipment and supplies; disinfectants and related equipment; and tents for temporary shelter of the homeless, among others.

He also urged cities and municipalities to ensure that the Bayanihan Grant are utilized properly and to maximize it for the benefit of their constituents.

“Naniniwala ako na mas alam at ramdam ninyo ang pangangailangan sa inyong sinasakupan kaya siguruhin po sana natin na gagamitin natin ng maayos ang pondong ito para sa kapakanan ng ating mga kababayan,” Año said.

He also reminded local executives to shun politics in this time of crisis and to adhere to the “No Epal” provision stated in the guidelines set by the government in the distribution of relief goods.

The DILG chief likewise urged the public to do their part in stopping the COVID-19 crisis by cooperating with authorities and obeying the protocols on the enhanced community quarantine set by the government.

Año said the people should be committed and united to tread the path of cooperation, healing, and recovery in order for the country to rise above a crisis of this scope and magnitude.

“Ngayon po natin patunayan ang lakas, galing at tibay nating mga Pilipino laban sa anumang hamon. Magkaisa tayo laban sa COVID-19,” he said.

Mga benepisyaryo ng 4Ps, hindi kailangang mag-fill-out ng SAC form – DILG

Robie de Guzman   •   April 6, 2020

MANILA, Philippines – Hindi kailangang pumirma o mag-sumite ng Social Amelioration Card (SAC) forms ang mga benepisyaryo ng Pantawid Pamilyang Pilipino Program (4Ps) upang makatanggap ng pinansyal na ayuda mula sa pamahalaan sa gitna ng COVID-19 crisis.

Ayon kay Department of the Interior and Local Government (DILG) Secretary Eduardo Año, ito ay dahil direkta nang ipapasok sa kanilang account ang pinansyal na tulong para sa kanila sa ilalim ng Social Amelioration Program Bayanihan Fund.

“Hindi na kailangan pang magfill out ng SAC form ang 4Ps dahil sila ang pinrioritize ng pamahalaan at makukuha na nila ang kanilang cash subsidies sa kanilang ATM,” ani Año.

Dagdag ng opisyal, batay sa impormasyon mula sa Department of Social Welfare and Development (DSWD), simula ngayong ika-6 ng Abril ay maaari nang makuha ng 4Ps beneficiaries sa Bangsamoro Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao ang ayuda mula sa kanilang cash cards.

Noong Abril 5 ay nakatanggap na rin ng ayuda ang 4Ps beneficiaries mula sa mga rehiyon ng CALABARZON, MIMAROPA, Region 8, 10, 11, 12 at CARAGA.

Ang mga benepisyaryo naman ng programa sa Region 5, 6, 7 at 9 ay nakatanggap na rin ng tulong pinansyal mula sa pamahalaan noon pang April 4.

Ang unang bugso ng cash subsidy ay inilabas noong April 3 sa 4Ps beneficiaries sa Metro Manila, Cordillera Administrative Region, Region 1, 2 at 3, ayon sa DILG.

“Patunay po ito ng pagkalinga at pagmamalasakit ng pamahalaan sa gitna ng public health emergency na dinaranas natin ngayon. Kaya kapit lang po at dalangin nating lahat na matapos na ang masamang panaginip ng COVID-19,” ayon kay Año.

Para sa 4Ps beneficiaries na wala pang cash card accounts, sinabi ni Año na naipasa na ang pondo sa tanggapan ng DSWD sa mga rehiyon na siyang mangangasiwa sa pamamahagi ng ayuda.

Nakikipag-ugnayan na sa ngayon ang DSWD sa mga lokal na pamahalaan na nakakasakop sa mga pamilyang ito na nakatakdang tumanggap ng emergency subsidy.

“The urgent matter now is to ensure that the other low-income families qualified under the SAP will be able to fill out the form and comply with the DSWD requirements so they too can avail of the government support intended for them,” Año said.

Sinabi ng DILG chief na mahigit sa P16 bilyong pisong halaga ng emergency subsidy ang ibinigay sa mahigit 3.7 milyong pamilya na nakikinabang sa 4Ps program.

Ang naturang pondo ay bahagi ng P200 bilyon na inilaan para sa COVID-19 response ng pamahalaan sa ilalim ng Bayanihan to Heal as One Act.

Bukod pa ito sa regular na ayuda na cash at rice allowance na ibinibigay ng pamahalaan sa mga mahihirap na pamilyang nakikinabang sa 4Ps.

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