By Chito Chavez
The Department of Interior and Local Government (DILG) on Sunday directed all local government units (LGUs) to discontinue enforcing the “narrow or limited window period’’ in essential public and private establishments to ensure crowd control.
Interior and Local Government Sec. Eduardo Año
(DILG / MANILA BULLETIN FILE PHOTO)
In the advisory dated April 18, these establishments may include but not limited to drug stores, wet markets, supermarkets, and groceries pursuant to the regulations as stipulated under the enhanced community quarantine (ECQ).
DILG Secretary Eduardo Año observed that the window hours "further creates congestion of people who flock to these areas at the same time" and defeats the purpose of social distancing.
This was reported to the DILG after long queues outside wet markets, grocery stores, supermarkets, and pharmacies were observed when the window hours were in effect.
The memorandum was directed to the governors, mayors, and regional directors which is subject to strict implementation.
Año said that the LGUs may opt to conduct the scheduling and clustering of barangays or communities who may be allowed to go out.
He also urged the LGUs to devise "innovative measures" that are aligned with government guidelines while the lockdown is imposed in Luzon.
In the advisory, the DILG suggested the following strategies which may be adopted:
Online marketing and delivery of goods through the use of online platforms, community market in subdivisions, and market on wheels (mobile palengkes)
The Luzon-wide ECQ was extended until April 30. The extension, however, of the ECQ after April 30 is still under study, according to Palace spokesperson Harry Roque.
Año debunked claims that “Martial Law’’ will be imposed but asked the public to prepare for “martial law-style’’ imposition of the ECQ regulations in areas with lots of violations.
The DILG chief also said the public should prepare for the “new normal’’ where wearing face masks, social distancing, and prohibition of mass gatherings are mandatory.
In his public address Thursday, President Duterte said he understood the public’s frustration over the stay-at-home policy and social distancing regulations imposed by the national government, but insisted that it is the only way to prevent the spread of the coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19).