Barangay officials who fail to enforce the country’s quarantine rules could be held liable, President Duterte said in a televised address Monday as the country continued to battle the surge of coronavirus cases.
With safety and health protocols in place to curb the coronavirus outbreak, the President reminded the village officials about their responsibility as “persons in authority” in their areas of jurisdiction.
Duterte made the statement after Interior and Local Government Secretary Eduardo Año reported the planned filing of charges against certain village officials over the violation of the mass gathering rule at a resort in Caloocan City. Hundreds of people were earlier spotted swimming at a resort even as the modified enhanced community quarantine (MECQ) remained in effect in Metro Manila based on the photos that circulated on social media. The resort has reportedly been ordered closed over the alleged quarantine violations.
“Ang barangay captain you are called upon and will be held liable for the failure of implementing the law in your territory,” the President said in a televised address Monday, May 10.
“You have to enforce the law ‘yong barangay captains sa iyong lugar mo (the barangay captains in your area) you are the person in authority,” he added.
Duterte pointed out that barangay captains, like mayors, municipal officials, and even teachers, are “persons in authority.” He said they must ensure the country’s quarantine regulations aimed at suppressing the coronavirus transmissions must be enforced in their areas of jurisdiction.
“Kasi magsabi bakit ibigay sa amin ‘yan? Anak ng. Hindi ninyo alam, ‘yan ‘yan (Then you ask, why give us that responsibility. You don’t know, that’s your responsibility). That is the reason why,” he added.
Last month, the President warned local government officials about the possibility of facing administrative and criminal complaints if they don’t enforce quarantine rules in their communities.
Duterte, in a televised address on April 28, asked Año to hold mayors and barangay captains liable for any dereliction of duty should they allow mass gatherings, which are prohibited in areas under the MECQ in National Capital Region Plus.
The country’s police force has also been recently directed by the President to arrest and detain persons not properly wearing their face masks. Mask wearing is one of the government’s minimum public health standards in areas under community quarantine to prevent the rapid rise in coronavirus cases in the country.
In a report to the President, Año said the DILG has recorded 18,862 violations of people not wearing face mask from May 6 to 10, 2021. Of this number, he said 904 have been arrested, 9,379 were given warnings while 8,027 were slapped with fines over mask rule violation. At least 491 faced community service while 61 are subject to inquest proceedings.
On the government’s rule against mass gatherings, the DILG chief reported 280 violations. He noted that a barangay captain in Caloocan City was arrested in connection with the resort incident.
Over 5,400 violations on physical distancing have also been reported by the DILG. From this figure, 4,071 were given warnings while 1,011 were fined.
After listening to Año’s report, the President commented that he was “satisfied” with the implementation of the law.