The Department of the Interior and Local Government (DILG) urged all local governments to strictly enforce the prohibition on mass gatherings imposed by the President under the guidelines issued today on the management of the Coronavirus disease situation (COVID-19).
DILG Secretary Eduardo M. Año met with all the mayors of Metro Manila today at the MMDA to seek their cooperation to limit the movement of people inside NCR on March 15 to April 14, 2020 in order to contain the spread of the virus.
“We are under a public health emergency. The first time in our history. We need to act fast otherwise the WHO projects we will have 75,000 COVID cases and we do not have the resources to meet that kind of emergency; thus, the best course of action now is to stop the spread and save the lives of our people,” he said.
He said that the Metro Manila LGUs agreed that all movie screenings, concerts, sporting events, other entertainment activities, community assemblies, and non-essential work-related gatherings are strictly prohibited within the NCR.
“We urge all our religious leaders to likewise suspend their mass or worship services during the duration of the quarantine for the sake of their members,” he said.
The DILG Chief said that he has directed the PNP to set up checkpoints in all strategic places inside Metro Manila to encourage people to respect the curfew recently approved by the Metro Manila Council.
“We respect the decision of the MM Council to impose a curfew from 8:00 pm to 5:00 am starting tomorrow in all LGUs in Metro Manila subject to exemptions for those who are working, or travelling to and from their place of work, those who are buying food or medicines, or going to the hospital for medical attention. But all other non-essential movements are to be prohibited and I have instructed the PNP to advise those violating the curfew to return to their homes immediately,” he said.
He also urged all private companies to adopt flexible work arrangements like work from home but if the same can’t be adopted, social distancing measures of 1 meter apart must be implemented in the workplace. He said that all public transportation facilities shall continue to operate and people will be able to go to their place of work should they need to.
DILG Undersecretary and Spokesperson Jonathan Malaya said that the PNP has been directed to support all LGUs in carrying out local policies in support of the Community Quarantine imposed by the President.
“In particular, all police units in malls and other public establishments with the help of the barangay officials shall ensure that students remain in their homes while the class suspension is in effect,” he said.
He said that all LGUs in the provinces may also adopt some of the measures imposed in Metro Manila but always upon the advice of the DOH.
“We urge LGUs outside Metro Manila to first consult the DOH before they impose any form of quarantine in their respective LGUs. Their decision must be evidence-based and calibrated with the facts on the ground so that they do not cause unnecessary harm and fear among their constituents,” he said.