By Chito Chavez
Department of Interior and Local Government (DILG) Undersecretary and spokesman Jonathan Malaya on Thursday scored the Communist Party of the Philippines (CPP) for rejecting the government’s call for a ceasefire from all offensive operations in the midst of the novel coronavirus disease-2019 (COVID-19) crisis.
In a press briefing, Malaya said the CPP insisted that the call for the ceasefire is not timely as this has not lived up to the specific standards of the terrorist to accede to President Duterte’s request.
He said that by shrugging off the ceasefire call, the terrorist group is clearly showing that it does not care for the welfare of the Filipinos.
President Duterte earlier declared a unilateral ceasefire with the Communist Party of the Philippines, New People’s Army and National Democratic Front (CPP-NPA-NDF) which started on Thursday, March 19 and ends on April 15, 2020.
Malaya said the President’s call for a unilateral ceasefire was made even without the terrorist group’s refusal to agree to it.
In thumbing down the government’s ceasefire request, Malaya lambasted the CPP stressing that it only showed the group’s true colors by prioritizing its interest instead of focusing on national interest in the midst of the COVID-19 pandemic.
Malaya assured the public that law and order will be maintained as PNP troops will be ready to face any eventuality in case of any attacks from lawless elements.
He said local government units (LGU) may realign their budgest for other projects like beautification programs to their quick response funds (QRF) during emergency situations like the COVID-19 crisis.
He encouraged the concerned LGUs to promptly make these budget realignments to expedite the giving of the needed assistance to the public severely affected by the COVID-19 pandemic.
As millions are affected by the health crisis, Malaya said the LGUs should implore methods in their food distribution efforts that will limit people’s movement.
Malaya reminded the LGUs to allow the barangays to distribute the food items to indigent constituents instead of distributing them at the municipal and city halls where social distancing will surely be impossible to implement.
“Let the people line up in the barangays instead of having a larger crowd converge at the municipal or city hall to get their food assistance where social distancing is impossible to accomplish,’’ Malaya said.
In a recent meeting, Malaya said the Department of Social Welfare and Development (DSWD) will provide its assistance by giving its technical support to the LGUs and the barangays in the food relief distribution to indigent families. (Chito Chavez)