LOCAL government executives barred delivery trucks carrying food and other essential goods from passing through their boundaries to ensure they have sufficient supplies while the enhanced community quarantine (ECQ) is in effect in the entire Luzon region.
Interior Secretary Eduardo Año said this was among the most cited reasons of governors and mayors after the Department of Interior and Local Government (DILG) asked them to explain their implementation of COVID-19 measures that are inconsistent with guidelines set by the Inter-Agency Task Force on Emerging Infectious Diseases (IATF-EID).
The Luzon lockdown was initially set to last until April 12. It was extended by President Duterte until the end of April to preserve government gains in controlling the spread of the infectious coronavirus disease (COVID-19).
Año said some governors and mayors claimed they prevented the shipment of goods outside their areas to ensure that their constituents will not go hungry during the Luzon-wide lockdown.
“They already submitted their response. Our legal (division) is evaluating if their explanation is valid,” said Año. He said if their reasons are unacceptable, further investigations will be pursued against the officials.
Año earlier said he will submit the names of the local government officials to President Duterte if they fail to explain their defiance of the IATF-EID guidelines.
Año said the top violation of local officials was preventing the flow of goods from their areas. The IATF-EID says all food and essential goods should be unhampered to ensure supply for those who are affected by the lockdown.
“They don’t want products from their areas to go outside their province so their province will not go hungry. They said they produced these products so they should be the first to consume these. That is a selfish mentality,” he said.
Some of the officials said it was not their intention to contradict the IATF guidelines, Año said: “They said they are just thinking of the welfare of their constituents, invoking Section 16 of the Local Government Code which is ensuring the protection and welfare of their constituents.”
Año said that while local chief executives are authorized to implement their own ordinances, these have to be consistent with national laws. “They cannot do anything that is not consistent with the national laws,” he said.
Año said some of the local officials have revised executive orders that are not aligned with the IATF-EID guidelines.