Twenty-nine (29) barangay chairmen in Metro Manila were issued with a show cause order by the Department of the Interior and Local Government (DILG) for failure to properly enforce the enhanced community quarantine (ECQ) in their communities amid the coronavirus disease 2019 (Covid-19) pandemic.
DILG Secretary Eduardo M. Año said that the issuance comes after reports received by the Department from concerned citizens on the non-observance of physical distancing and continuing instances of mass gatherings in their barangays.
“Dumating na tayo sa ganitong punto sapagkat hindi maayos na binabantayan ng ilang punong barangay ang kanilang nasasakupan. Hindi puwedeng maging kampante sa Covid-19 lalo’t ‘di pa alam ang lunas nito. Marami na ang nasawi kabilang na ang ilang doktor at health workers,” he said Wednesday.
“Maging sino man ay gusto nang makabalik sa normal na pamumuhay. Para magawa ito ay kailangan maging disiplinado ang bawat isa, bawat pamilya, bawat lokal na pamahalaan mula sa barangay para maayos na maipatupad ang ECQ nang hindi kumalat ang virus,” he said.
Año said that the Undersecretary for Barangay Affairs, Martin B. Diño, is currently leading the issuance of the show cause order to the recipient punong barangays, who should be able to explain under oath within 48 hours from receipt why no administrative charges should be filed against them.
This includes the possible imposition of suspension pendente lite or during the litigation for failure to perform their mandated duties and functions in enforcing strict physical distancing directives or the ECQ to slow the spread of and to defeat the dreadful Covid-19 in their local government unit (LGU). Failure to submit their explanation shall be deemed a waiver thereof.
The DILG Chief says that punong barangays are legally liable in properly implementing the ECQ as mandated by the Republic Act No. 11469 or the Bayanihan to Heal as One Act which orders LGUs to fully cooperate in the cohesive implementation of the national policy to address Covid-19.
In line with this is the DILG Memorandum Circular (MC) No. 2020-62 dated March 21, 2020 which enjoins LGUs to strictly deter mass gatherings.
Critical role of barangays
Meanwhile, DILG Spokesperson and Undersecretary Jonathan E. Malaya emphasized the critical role of barangays in the battle against Covid-19.
“Kayong mga nasa barangay ang mas nakakaalam at nakakakita ng situwasyon sa komunidad. Kayo ang mga kamay at paa ng gobyerno. Kaya kritikal ang papel ninyo sa pagbabantay kung nasusunod ba ng maayos ang ECQ at kung ano ang mga pangangailangan ng taumbayan,” he said as he urged punong barangays to ensure the organization and functionality of their respective Barangay Health Emergency Response Teams (BHERTs) tasked, among others, to monitor and report suspect and probable Covid-19 cases.
Malaya says that BHERTs should also assist the Contact Tracing Teams (CTTs) of LGUs in the conduct of contact tracing for all persons with known exposure to Covid-19 patients.
The CTT in each LGU is to be led by the Philippine National Police (PNP) Chief of Police and also assisted by the City or Municipal Health Officer together with the Bureau of Fire Protection (BFP) and the Local Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Office (LDRMMO).
“Lalo’t higit kailangan ang kooperasyon sa paglaban sa Covid-19 ngayong maraming buhay na ang nawala at patuloy na nagsasakripisyo ang mga mamamayan sa kawalan ng hanapbuhay. ‘Wag na po ninyo hintaying masampulan, masita at mabigyan ng show cause order. Gawin ninyo na po ang inyong tungkulin sa inyong constituents,” he urged.
The barangays issued with a show cause order are Barangays 11, 12, 20, 154, 220, 350, and 212 in Manila; Barangays Bagong Silangan, 178, 12, 176, 37, and 129 in Caloocan; Barangays Libis, Pasong Putik, Pasong Tamo, San Bartolome, Batasan Hills, Payatas, Fairview, Novaliches Proper, and San Antonio in Quezon City; Barangay Moonwalk in Parañaque; Barangays Pio Del Pilar and Bangkal in Makati; Barangay Almanza 2 in Las Piñas; Barangay Tonsuya in Malabon; Barangay Addition Hills in Mandaluyong and Barangay Alabang in Muntinlupa.