LGUs failing to enforce mass gathering restrictions to face raps — DILG

Robie de Guzman   •   May 10, 2021   •   194

MANILA, Philippines — The Department of the Interior and Local Government (DILG) warned to file raps against local government units (LGU) that will fail to strictly enforce prohibition or limitation on mass gatherings under community quarantine classifications being enforced in the country.

The DILG issued the statement following President Rodrigo Duterte’s directive to strictly enforce the face mask policy and other health protocols to curb the transmission of COVID-19.

“Local government units have a critical role in enforcing mass gathering regulations as they are nearer to their constituencies compared to the national government,” DILG Secretary Eduardo Año said in a statement on Sunday.

“What local chief executives (LCE) can do is to adopt and implement guidelines and policies of the Inter-Agency Task Force (IATF) as well as enact necessary local policies to support these regulations,” he added.

In line with the President’s directive to the DILG, Año issued DILG Memorandum Circular (MC) No. 2021-050 reminding all LCEs that they will be sanctioned if found violating any of the prohibitions contained under the IATF Omnibus Guidelines on the Implementation of Community Quarantine in the Philippines with Amendments as of April 15, 2021, which provides for the prohibitions and limitations on public and mass gatherings.

Any violation of the prohibitions in the Omnibus Guidelines shall constitute non-cooperation of the person or entities which is punishable under Section 9 paragraph (d) or (e) of Republic Act No. 11332 and its Implementing Rules and Regulations (IRR).

Failure on the part of local officials to enforce IATF resolutions may lead to charges filed against them for dereliction of duty based on Article 208 of the Revised Penal Code. Administrative sanctions may likewise be imposed on them under the Local Government Code.

“Maaaring administrative complaint or criminal case ang isampa laban sa pabayang LCEs. Hindi po gusto ng DILG na dumating sa puntong gawin ito kaya sana ipatupad nang maayos ng LGUs ang polisiya sa mass gatherings ayon sa quarantine classification sa kanilang lugar,” Año said.

The DILG chief also reminded all LGUs to exercise their power of supervision over their component LGUs.

“The LGU through its Sanggunian, at the instance of a concerned LCE, may hear any complaint for violation, misconduct, and/or dereliction of duty of lower LGU officials and impose sanctions as may be allowed by existing laws against an erring official,” he said.

Año has also directed the Philippine National Police (PNP) to strictly enforce all applicable guidelines and policies of the IATF especially on the prohibition on mass gatherings.

“The PNP should assist LGUs in the enforcement of all policies, laws both national and local, relative to the curtailment of the spread of COVID-19,” he said.

Citizens may also file complaints to their local DILG Regional Offices regarding the failure of their LGUs to implement mass gathering regulations by emailing or calling the nearest DILG Regional Office or field office or the DILG Emergency Operations Center (EOC) at dilgeoc.complaint@gmail.com and telephone number (02) 8876-3454 local 881 to 884.

“Don’t hesitate to lodge your complaints through your local DILG ROs so that appropriate actions may be taken upon verification,” the DILG said.

Under the IATF Omnibus Guidelines as of April 15, 2021, gatherings outside residences and gatherings at residences are prohibited in areas under Enhanced Community Quarantine (ECQ), Modified Enhanced Community Quarantine (MECQ), and General Community Quarantine (GCQ), but allowed up to 50% of seating or venue capacity for areas under Modified General Community Quarantine (MGCQ).

Gatherings for the provision of government services and authorized humanitarian activities are allowed in all areas under ECQ, MECQ, GCQ, and MGCQ.

Meanwhile, religious gatherings under ECQ are prohibited but religious services may be conducted through online video recording and transmission. Under MECQ, religious gatherings are allowed up to 10% but may be increased to 30% of seating capacity, subject to LGU regulations.

Under GCQ, it is allowed up to 30% but may be increased to 50% of seating capacity, subject to LGU regulations. In areas under MGCQ, it is allowed up to 50% of seating capacity, limited to religious worship or service and subject to LGU regulations.

Meanwhile, LGU-initiated gatherings in areas under ECQ, MECQ, and GCQ are limited to gatherings that are essential for the provision of health or government services or humanitarian activities and are subject to prior authorization from the appropriate government agency or instrumentality.

In areas under MGCQ it is allowed for any activity up to 50% of seating or venue capacity in compliance with ventilation standards set by the DOLE. – RRD (with details from Correspondent Rosalie Coz)

Filipinos are allowed to get vaccinated anywhere in PH — DOH

Robie de Guzman   •   June 21, 2021

MANILA, Philippines — Filipinos can get inoculated against novel coronavirus disease (COVID-19) anywhere in the country under the government’s “no wrong door policy” in its vaccination drive, the Department of Health (DOH) said Monday.

 “Meron ho tayong tinatawag na no wrong door policy. Ibig sabihin, kung ikaw ay nagpunta sa Davao at ikaw ay puwede nang bakunahan, puwede ka bakunahan doon kahit hindi ka taga-Davao,” Health Undersecretary Mari Rosario Vergeire said in a press briefing.

“Hindi po natin sinasara ang ating mga pinto sa mga bakunahan dahil hindi ka taga doon na lugar,” she added.

The health official, however, stressed that the vaccination should be done through appointments and that walk-ins should be discouraged as this tends to result in crowding.

The DOH previously said that local government units may open separate walk-in lanes in their COVID-19 vaccination centers as walk-ins may be used as substitutes for those who are scheduled for inoculation but do no show up on a certain date.

The agency, however, said that the number of walk-ins that would be accommodated per day in jab sites should be limited.

The DOH earlier urged the public to pre-register for the vaccination and get inoculated when it’s their turn.

DOH says surge in COVID-19 cases in Visayas, Mindanao due to ‘multitude of factors’

Robie de Guzman   •   June 21, 2021

MANILA, Philippines — The rise in COVID-19 cases in the Visayas and Mindanao areas could be attributed to a “multitude of factors,” the Department of Health (DOH) said Monday.

In an online press briefing, Health Undersecretary Maria Rosario Vergeire said they have noted some factors that have contributed to the spike in infections in the Visayas and Mindanao areas, including the complacency in enforcing and observing health protocols.

The DOH also observed the clustering of infections in workplaces and prisons in the said areas.

“Lagi po nating sinasabi na pag may tumataas po na kaso sa bawat lugar, we need to look at a multitude of factors because we know that there are these different factors which causes the transmission of the virus,” Vergeire said.

“Meron tayong pang-indibidwal at pang-komunidad na pagpapatupad po natin ng minimum health protocols at ‘pag tiningnan natin there are reports already coming to us from our different regional epidemiological and surveillance units na talagang mukhang nagkaroon ng complacency sa pagpapatupad ng health protocols,” she added.

Vergeire said the presence of coronavirus variants in some parts of the Visayas and Mindanao may also have contributed to the surge.

“Totoo po na meron na tayong na-detect na variants sa iba’t ibang lugar dito sa Visayas and Mindanao and these can also be drivers of the infection but let us not just rely or let us not just say that it’s just because of the variants, there are a multitude of factors,” she said.

“Kailangan po kapag tayo ay tumitingin sa response natin, it’s a continuum. So we will need to address, not just the variants, but also the other forms of response that we are having,” she added.

Data from the DOH showed that active COVID-19 cases in the Visayas stood at 13,313, and 14,426 in Mindanao as of June 20.

The DOH reiterated its call to the public to continue adhering to health protocols mandated by the government to help break the chain of COVID-19 transmission.

DOH: Over 2.1 million persons in PH now fully vaccinated vs COVID-19

Robie de Guzman   •   June 21, 2021

MANILA, Philippines — A total of 2,153,942 people have completed their COVID-19 vaccine doses, the Department of Health (DOH) reported on Monday.

Based on the vaccine statistics released by the government, a total of 8,407,342 doses have already been administered in the country as of June 20. Of this figure, 6,253,400 have received their first dose.

The agency said that in the A1 or first priority group, a total of 1,569,561 have received their first shot while 1,067,630 have completed 2 doses.

In the A2 or the second priority group, a total of 2,001,758 were given the first dose. On the other hand, 553,527 received their second dose.

In the A3 sector, 2,088,000 received their first jab while 524,699 were fully vaccinated.

In the A4 group, 526,896 got their first jab and 8,086 received their second dose.

Around 67,185 persons under the A5 group were given the first dose of the COVID-19 vaccine.

The DOH also said that the total COVID-19 vaccine doses administered in the 16th week of the national vaccination reached a record high of 1,461,666 doses.

It also noted that the average daily administered doses in the last seven days were 208,809.

“The government is urging eligible populations belonging to priority groups A1 to A5 to register with their local government units, get vaccinated, and complete the required number of doses as scheduled,” the DOH said.

“Regardless of vaccination status, everyone is urged to continue practicing the minimum public health standards as you may still get infected with COVID-19 and infect other people,” it added.

The national government is eyeing to vaccinate up to 70 million people this year to attain population protection against COVID-19.

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