The Department of the Interior and Local Government (DILG) has directed the Provincial Government of Cagayan to lift its strict COVID health protocols to allow relief, search and rescue teams, and media outlets with immediate access to areas affected by Typhoon Ulysses.
DILG Secretary Eduardo M. Año said that they have received numerous reports that relief and media organizations are being barred at the provincial border because of strict quarantine restrictions imposed by the Provincial Government.
“The situation in Cagayan requires unhampered disaster response and recovery operations by rescue and relief organizations. Therefore, all LGUs in Cagayan and Isabela should ease up access in their areas to facilitate disaster operations,” he said.
“Existing LGU requirements related to the management of the COVID-19 pandemic should not hamper nor delay the entry, passage, or operations of all government and private sector humanitarian assistance and response personnel,” he added.
He directed the Regional IATF and all LGUs to exercise its sound discretion in lifting the restrictions. He, nonetheless, directed all disaster response personnel and media workers to observe minimum health standards and use face masks and face shields while doing their humanitarian work.
“The mayors know best the situation in their areas, so they should use their sound discretion in lifting the restrictions but always implement the minimum health standards in the conduct of relief operations,” he added.