MANILA, Philippines – President Rodrigo Duterte on Thursday night directed local government officials to strictly implement community quarantine protocols and to prohibit fiesta celebrations in their localities amid the continuing threat of novel coronavirus disease (COVID-19).
During a pre-taped public address late Thursday, Duterte warned local executives that they would be held accountable if they fail to enforce COVID-19 protocols.
“Ang hinihingi ko is that you only not tone down but forego, kasi may batas, forego to congregrate, to crowd and to hold [fiestas],” he said.
“I will not allow the violations of the guidelines given by the task force. I will hold the local governments, down to the last barangay level, and therefore it could only be the barangay captains, I will hold you responsible for any violation itong mga batas na hindi napatutupad,” he added.
Duterte issued the directive as he approved the easing of quarantine restrictions in Metro Manila and other provinces.
Metro Manila and nearby provinces of Cavite, Bulacan, Rizal, and Laguna – called NCR Plus – have been shifted to general community quarantine (GCQ) “with heightened restrictions” from May 15 to May 31.
Other areas under GCQ during the same period are Apayao, Baguio City, Benguet, Kalinga, Mountain Province, Abra, Cagayan, Isabela, Nueva Vizcaya, Batangas, Quezon, Puerto Princesa, Iligan City, Davao City, and Lanao del Sur.
Areas placed under modified enhanced community quarantine are Santiago City, Quirino, Ifugao, and Zamboanga City. The rest of the country will remain under modified GCQ.
Duterte emphasized that enforcing health protocols in the localities must be stringent to allow the country to recover from the pandemic and to prevent virus transmission.
He also reminded the public to wear face mask, frequently wash their hands and to stay at home.
“This is really a law so you have to enforce it because if you want this country to recover form the onslaught of COVID-19, you have to be mindful of what is going on and how to prevent it,” Duterte said.
“Nakikiusap ako, there are a lot of fiestas which you would like to hold, the problem is there is also the consequence which we must be mindful of,” he added.