By Chito Chavez
Department of Interior and Local Government (DILG) Secretary Eduardo Año clarified on Friday that the local government units (LGUs) have absolutely no authority to suspend international and domestic flights even during extreme health emergencies like the novel coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19).
In a news briefing, Año said that what the LGUs can do in these cases is to coordinate to the concerned government agencies if they see it necessary to suspend local or international flights.
Stressing the importance of coordination and dialogues, Año said that some LGUs erroneously declare that there are cancelled flights in their respective areas causing confusion and chaos in checkpoints where the passengers are stranded.
Año also called on the LGUs to follow the set of guidelines imposed by the IATF and not implement their own policies especially when it comes to the movement of cargo and goods.
DILG Undersecretary and spokesman Jonathan Malaya said some local government officials have been prohibiting the entry of goods in a bid to protect their constituents from the coronavirus disease 2019.
Malaya noted that some LGUs in their desire to protect their constituents have gone beyond the IATF resolution and have tried to overdo things which are unlawful.
Malaya said that reports that the delivery of petroleum, feeds for animals and even flour were being stopped at certain control points presumably on orders of the mayors and governors.
He reminded the policemen deployed in checkpoints to only enforce the orders of the President.