By Genalyn Kabiling
President Duterte wants local government units (LGUs) not to act like “separate republics” and instead follow the national government’s guidelines on the enhanced community quarantine (ECQ) in Luzon or else risk facing charges, Malacañang said Thursday night.
The President also intends to ask establishments to provide food to people in need and promises to pay them in return, according to Presidential Spokesperson Salvador Panelo.
Panelo gave a sneak peek into the President’s televised address directed to the LGUs Thursday night following a meeting with several members of the inter-agency task force for the management of emerging infectious diseases at the Malago clubhouse in Malacañang Park.
“The President is going to a give a televised message specifically directed to the local government units. He wants to tell them that we are in a critical condition and we resorted to this stringent measure so that the enhanced community quarantine which is actually a total lockdown as the President clarifies it,” he said over ANC/DZMM Wednesday night.
“Right now, kanya-kanyang diskarte ang mga local government units kaya nagkakagulo raw (Right now, local government units are acting on their own so there is some disorder). Sabi ni President you have to follow the guidelines, you cannot go beyond the guidelines. Hindi pwedeng kanya-kanya tayo, otherwise those who will go against the guidelines will have to face administrative charges and criminal charges,” he added.
Panelo said the President has received reports that some local government units were not following the “lockdown” guidelines issued by the task force. Some local officials have allegedly implemented their own measures that led to confusion.
“He wants to tell them that we are in a critical condition and we resorted to this stringent measure so that the enhanced community quarantine, which is actually a total lockdown as the President clarifies it, becomes effective, but there have been reports reaching the President that certain local government units are not following the guidelines on the lockdown. He wants that all local government units should follow all the guidelines given by the IATF and the local government units cannot go beyond,” he said.
He reminded the local officials that the country is “one republic,” and that the national government will be “calling the shots” in the latest public health emergency. He said the LGUs must cooperate and follow the quarantine guidelines issued by the inter-agency task force.
“To the mind of the President, we have to survive and we are in a very critical situation. He says that bawat local government unit kailangan mag-cooperate sapagkat (each local government unit must cooperate because) we are not separate republics. Iisa lang ang republic natin sabi niya, kaya nga ang bawat isa ay sumunod kung ano ang national government guidelines (We are one republic so everyone should follow the national government guidelines),” he said.
“There is one national government and all local government units must follow these guidelines,” he reiterated.
He noted that some LGUs enforced their own curfews and lockdowns that left many people stranded on the road. “Hindi pupuwede ‘yan,” he said. (That’s not allowed.)
He said the President has already directed the military to deploy their vehicles to ferry workers stranded on the road back to their homes.
Also, Panelo said the President would be asking for the support of private establishments to ensure no one will go hungry during the quarantine period. Duterte has offered to pay for the food that will be given to the people.
“Doon sa mga nagugutom, kung magkaroon ng pagkakataon (To those who are hungry, if there is a chance), he will be asking the all the establishments bigyan ninyo ng, pakainin ninyo yan (give them [food], feed them),” he said.
“Ako mismo magbabayad (I myself will pay). Ilista ninyo lahat (List it all down), on my word of honor. Babayaran ko ‘yan (I will pay for that). Hindi pwedeng may magutom na kahit isang mamamayan sa bansa (Not one citizen of this country should go hungry),” he added.
The President has placed the main island of Luzon under enhanced community quarantine, that calls for strict home quarantine, suspends public transportation, and forces companies to allow employees to work from home, among others.
He assured the public there was no martial law and that there would be sufficient food supply during the quarantine period.