MANILA, Philippines – The Department of the Interior and Local Government (DILG) on Monday announced that the 75-day clearing operations of local government units (LGU) are suspended until further notice.
In a statement, DILG Secretary Eduardo Año said suspending the road clearing operations would ensure that “local chief executives will be able to focus all their efforts in fighting novel coronavirus disease (COVID-19).”
Año said this is in compliance with the guidelines of the Department of Health (DOH) and the Inter-Agency Task Force for the Management of Emerging Infectious Diseases approved by President Rodrigo Duterte.
The second round of road clearing operations of all local government units began on February 17, 2020.
The DILG also announced that the foreign travel of local chief executives will be temporarily suspended in the next 30 days to make sure that they are hands-on in fighting the spread of the virus in their respective jurisdictions.
The entire Luzon has been placed under enhanced community quarantine by the president on Monday afternoon, according to Malacañang.
Under the guidelines earlier released by the Palace, an enhanced community quarantine means that strict home quarantine will be implemented in all households; transportation shall be suspended; provision for food and essential health services shall be regulated and the heightened presence of uniformed personnel enforce quarantine procedures will be implemented.
Presidential Spokesperson Salvador Panelo said more details will be released later after Duterte’s meeting with the government’s inter-agency task force.
Under the current guidelines on community quarantine, all provincial governors and mayors of highly urbanized cities, as well as Senators and Congressmen, are free to travel to and out of Metro Manila in the performance of their official functions. Mayors of component cities and municipalities may be allowed to enter Metro Manila subject to the approval of this Department on a case-to-case basis.
The DILG also said that a total of 40,000 police officers are now deployed to man checkpoints in Metro Manila.
“We assure the public of the sufficiency of uniformed police and military officers who will man checkpoints around Metro Manila. They shall follow all lawful protocols in manning checkpoints and are advised to be courteous but firm in performing their duties,” it said.
“Panahon po ito ng pagsubok sa ating tapang at malasakit sa bawat isa at lalo na ang disiplina nating mga Pilipino. Bagaman may abalang naidudulot ang ating preventive measures laban sa COVID-19, unawain po natin na para ito sa kabutihan ng nakakarami. This too shall pass so let us remain calm and resilient,” it added.