Barangay leaders warned: Enforce quarantine rules or face charges

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    BARANGAY officials who fail to properly implement the stringent community quarantine measures set by the government can be legally held liable for inefficiency, Interior Secretary Eduardo Año said on Wednesday.

    The national government and local government units (LGUs) have crafted strict guidelines in the implementation of the enhanced community quarantine (ECG) policy imposed by President Duterte to curb the spread of the SARS-CoV-2 , the virus that causes the coronavirus disease (COVID-19).

    Año stressed barangay officials play a vital role in efforts to prevent the spread of the virus, especially since policemen and soldiers are preoccupied with conducting patrols and manning checkpoints and control points.

    “I have instructed our barangay captains and barangay officials in the barangays to implement this lockdown. We are talking about 25,000 barangays in the entire Luzon,” Año said, adding that “policemen and soldiers cannot monitor all these because they are in strategic areas, in checkpoints, and in roving and mobile patrols.”

    “Barangay captains and their officials will have to implement this (enhanced community quarantine) in their barangays. If you sleep on your job, I’m going to go after you,” Año said.

    The DILG chief complained that while quarantine measures have been put in place, many residents continue to go out of their houses, children still play in the streets, and passenger tricycles continue to ply their routes.

    Año said he has given specific directives to all metro mayors to stop the operation of tricycles, which is covered under the ECQ suspension of all mass public transport facilities

    “I’ve asked the mayors in NCR to ban (the operation of passenger) tricycles first because you cannot practice social distancing there. If you allow that, you are going to give the people the opportunity to go out,” he said.

    “The strategy of a total lockdown is to cancel all public and mass transportation so people will be forced to stay at home. If you give exemptions, you are again violating the principle of (a) total lockdown,” he added.

    Año said DILG undersecretary for barangay affairs Martin Dino is closely monitoring the performance of barangay officials on how they are implementing the ECQ guidelines in their areas.

    Año urged the public to report to the DILG the barangay officials who will be remiss of their duties and responsibilities.

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