Año warns barangay captains of arrest and suspension on mass gathering

Published May 27, 2021, 1:24 PM

by Chito Chavez

Following the President Duterte’s order, the Department of Interior and Local Government (DILG) vowed on Thursday, May 27 to have the barangay captains arrested in addition to being suspended for failure to stop mass gathering activities in their areas in the midst of the pandemic.

In an interview over ABS-CBN TeleRadyo, DILG Secretary Eduardo Año explained that an administrative case is automatically filed if there would be a criminal offense that would be slapped against the barangay captains.

While the case is being heard, Año said the concerned barangay captain will be removed from his office to prevent him from influencing the investigation adding that the preventive suspension may be issued by the Ombudsman or the President.

The DILG chief urged the barangay captains to establish links with the police and local officials in monitoring super spreader mass gatherings or other related events in their respective areas since the country is under extraordinary times.

Since the country is under a state of public health emergency, Año explained that local officials, particularly the barangays have huge roles to play in the midst of the pandemic adding that they should recognize that they are not alone in this responsibility.

The official said orders were given to the barangays to link their operation centers with the Philippine National Police (PNP) stations and city or municipal governments.

He added that the barangays should have the contact number of the Joint Task Force Shield Against COVID-19 and police precincts in their areas since taking the responsibility solely would be extremely difficult.

Año shunned the excuses of barangay captains that quarantine rules are difficult to be implemented due to large areas, saying it is easier to enforce the law when fully coordinated with the police and city and municipal government. He added that the use of modern technology like the close circuit television cameras (CCTV) will come in handy.

“Barangays should have established close coordination with private establishments equipped with CCTVs,” said Año.

Año emphasized that the barangay officials should be up on their toes as it is crystal clear where the (COVID-19) super spreader events start naming parks and similar places where basketball games, boxing cards, swimming pool (activities) and leisure and recreation gatherings occur.

“Hindi pupuwedeng sabihin na hindi ko alam e (mass gathering), malaki yung area ko. Umalis ka na lang sa puwesto mo, hahanap na lang tayo ng barangay captain na kayang gawin yung trabaho sa ganitong pandemic (You can’t reason out that you were unaware because my area is huge. Just vacate your post and we will just look for a barangay captain who is up to the task in this pandemic),’’ Año said.