Año vows to get tough on LGU execs if mass gatherings go unpunished

Published May 4, 2021, 1:37 AM

by Chito Chavez

Department of Interior and Local Government (DILG) Secretary Eduardo Año has guaranteed that local chief executives (LCE) who fail to prosecute violators of the rule against mass gatherings would get slapped with administrative and criminal charges.

DILG Secretary Eduardo Ano (Photo courtesy of DILG)

In a briefing with President Duterte late Monday night, May 3, Año said the Philippine National Police (PNP) would strictly enforce the law against mass gatherings and even arrest non-complying LCEs.

Año noted that a DILG memorandum circular (MC) had been issued setting the guidelines and salient points in the enforcement of quarantine regulations amid the coronavirus disease-2019 (COVID-19) pandemic.

The MC identifies the various types of mass gatherings under the varying community quarantine levels, with the duties of the governors, mayors, PNP, and specifically the barangay captains clearly defined.

It also highlights the “supervisory powers’’ of the higher local government units (LGUs) over the lower LGUs, the liabilities of the non-complying LCEs, and the Inter-Agency Task Force (IATF) guidelines that need to be observed during the quarantine period.

​Mass gatherings are a no-no in the current public health crisis since these could trigger super spreader events for the new coronavirus.

The DILG chief said the MC also states the need to follow Republic Act (RA) 1132, especially section 9, paragraph D and E, which spells out the mandatory reporting of notifiable disease and health events.

Another salient point of the MC is the citizens’ feedback mechanism wherein the LGUs are mandated to have complaint centers and hotline numbers where the people can report their grievances.