All operations on the distribution of relief goods from any private citizen and other entities must be coordinated to the local government units (LGUs) to ensure that no enhanced or general community quarantine (ECQ) protocols are violated according to the Department of the Interior and Local Government (DILG),
DILG Secretary Eduardo M. Año said that all efforts and assistance for the people are welcome so long as it complies with all ECQ measures so that it doesn’t cause the spread of COVID-19 in communities. He says that “there is no problem in wanting to help just ensure that LGUs are notified.”
“Helping is a beautiful deed, lalo na ngayong tayo ay nasa krisis. The ECQ measures are enforced not to curtail the people’s rights, especially the ones who are generous to share and help their fellow Filipinos, but to ensure that coronavirus doesn’t spread, at itong pagtulong sa pamamagitan ng pamimigay ng relief goods ay hinihikayat, dapat lang ay ipaalam sa mga LGU,” Año said.
According to the DILG Chief, in some cases relief operations of private entities are conducted without a certification from the LGU and that the people distributing and handing the relief do not have quarantine passes.
He said that one of the basic guidelines imposed by the Inter-agency Task Force on the Emerging Infectious Diseases (IATF) and the DILG under the ECQ is that no individual is allowed to go out of the house without a quarantine pass.
“Yung ibang mga nagdi-distribute ay walang quarantine pass, hence, they are not authorized to get out of their residence. Nakita ko din na may mga paglabag sa physical distancing at mayroon na din mga bata at senior na lumabas ng bahay,” Año explained referring to violations committed in a relief operation green-lighted without the authorization of the LGU.
Año said that the conduct of relief distribution without the LGUs’ knowledge heightens the risk of further infection and community transmission, defeating the purpose of restricting people’s movement to contain the spread of COVID-19.
He also said that some groups disguise their illegal activities under the cover of relief operations in order to sell illegal drugs, hoard medical items, and conduct propaganda activities.
He also assured the public that LGUs will be responsive in processing the certification of relief organizations and their volunteers amid the COVID-19 pandemic. “Nakakasigurado po kayo na mabilis na aaksyunan ng mga LGUs ang mga bagay na ito. Hindi naman sila hahadlang na mabigyan ng karagdagan pang tulong ang ating mga kababayan,” he said.
He also said that Secretary Año has already instructed the Philippine National Police to strictly implement this policy to ensure that only authorized individuals are outside of their residence.