INTERIOR Secretary Eduardo Año on Thursday issued show-cause orders to several governors and mayors who continue to implement quarantine rules that are not consistent with guidelines set by the Inter-Agency Task Force on Emerging and Infectious Diseases (IATF-EID).
In a phone interview, Año said he will submit to President Duterte the names of the local chief executives for punishment, if they fail to justify their actions.
President Duterte has vowed to throw erring officials in jail and detain them until the COVID-19 pandemic is over.
“We already sent show-cause orders to some of them but I cannot divulge their names,” Año said, while also declining to say the number of local chief executives who were served the show-cause orders.
He said, though, that they include governors and mayors. “Until now, we are trying to manage, negotiate so they won’t be charged (under the Bayanihan to Heal as One Act), so they won’t be embarrassed,” he added.
“But if they are really hard-headed and they refuse to abide by the IATF guidelines, they continue to defy the President, (we will charge them). The President does not want his orders defied,” said Año.
Año said the liable officials have hampered the flow of goods and other essential products, and denied free movement of arriving overseas workers, departing foreigners, and those who are granted exemptions like medical personnel.
“You cannot impose a lockdown not consistent with the IATG guidelines. You do not have your own republic so you should follow the Republic of the Philippines… All you need to do is read the IATF resolution from the start. You don’t have to be intelligent to understand them. We simplified the resolutions so these can be aligned with their (local officials) executive orders,” he said.
Later on Thursday, Año said he is due to issue a show-cause order to Rodriguez, Rizal Mayor Dennis Hernandez who reportedly declined to allow the burial of two Muslim residents who died of COVID-19.
The two were later buried by their families in Norzagaray, Bulacan on March 22 or two days after their death. Under the Muslim tradition, the dead should be buried within 24 hours from death.
Under the IATF guidelines, a person who died of COVID-19 should be buried within 12 hours of death to prevent the spread of the virus.
“We are displeased with the disregard of the town mayor of Islamic traditions and I have already ordered our legal office to issue a show-cause order to the mayor of Montalban (now Rodriguez town),” said Año.