Barangay officials should be at the frontline of enforcing curfew restrictions and health safety protocols in the National Capital Region and four adjacent provinces under the government’s NCR Plus bubble.
Bernardo Florece Jr., officer-in-charge of the Department of Interior and Local Government (DILG), said the enforcement power of the barangays is included in the various local ordinances that were passed purposely to contain the spread of the coronavirus disease (COVID-19), specifically in Metro Manila, BUlacan, Laguna, Cavite and Rizal which were placed under enhanced community quarantine and later downgraded to modified ECQ.
“At the same time yung barangay level meron din silang ordinansa kung ano yung ipapatupad nila (curfew regulations), kung halimbawa fine. Meron ganung eh . So meron din naman silang mandate (at the barangay level they have ordinances where they impose for example fines. There is that thing. So they have this mandate),’’ Florece said in an interview over dzBB
But, Florece noted that the PNP and the barangay officials were reminded not to abuse their power although both have the authority to implement matters concerning quarantine protocols.
He added that the DILG had encouraged the barangays to impose regulations on the imposition of the minimum health standards stresing that the police are only there to provide assistance when the need arises.
“Primarily ang frontliner dapat natin dito yung barangay captains, barangay councilors, mga barangay tanods (village security personnel), yung ating BHERTs (Barangay Health Emergency Response Teams) (the frontliners in these cases (enforce minimum health standards) should be the barangay captains, barangay councilors, barangay tanods, BHERTs,’’ he added.
Florece emphasized that what is prohibited is for the barangays to “conduct checkpoints without coordination or approval’’ of the PNP.
With regards to the complaints against the national government’s cash aid distribution, Florece disclosed that only violations about physical distancing have reached the DILG but none pertaining to ayuda related anomalies and irregularities.
“Meron siguro (cash aid distribution complaints) pero hindi pa nakakarating sa amin (DILG) formally (There may be some but it has not formally reached us),’’ Florece said.
Before the cash aid distribution, Florece said that the DILG had imposed requirements to the concerned mayors like the posting on the social media and in the conspicuous places in the barangays the list of qualified beneficiaries.
These lists should have been cleansed since the recipients came from the social amelioration program (SAP 1, SAP 2 aside from the wait-listed poor individuals which the Department of Social Welfare and Development (DSWD had scrutinized.
“More or less, malinis na ang listahan (cash aid recipients) na ito (the list has already been cleared),’’ Florece said.