By Chito Chavez
Department of Interior and Local Government (DILG) Secretary Eduardo Año on Friday admitted that the failure of some local government units (LGU) to follow the guidelines has created problems at the checkpoints covered by the enhanced community quarantine.
In a press briefing, Año said cargoes of essential products like food, water and medicine were not allowed or had a difficult time passing through the checkpoints as some LGUs enforced their own versions of the “lockdown’’.
Refusing to identify the erring LGUs, Año said the local officials have already been summoned and were asked to regularly coordinate with the DILG in the implementation of the Luzon-wide enhanced community quarantine.
During the same briefing Año quantified who really are the stranded passengers stressing that his main task is to ensure that people stay at home and limit their movement during the ECQ period from March 17 to April 13.
Citing as an example, Año explained that not all of the 9,000 participants going to Luzon coming from a recent student conference were stranded.
He clarified that nine of them were stranded since they opted to take the RORO and later, take the bus while others travelled by air.
The DILG chief admitted there is confusion in the travel restrictions imposed by the Inter-Agency Task Force (IATF) due to non-complying LGUs.
Stressing this point, Año noted that the varying interpretations of some LGUs resulted in unduly delaying foreigners, balikbayans and Overseas Filipio Workers (OFW) who can lawfully travel from their points of origin to the airport.
Since the DILG has no control over the airports, Año has tasked the concerned LGUs to coordinate with specific agencies with governing powers over air travel to prevent confusion.
Año also maintained that the enhanced community quarantine is only imposed in Luzon but other areas outside the island may also conduct lockdowns provided that these are coordinated with the DILG.