DILG studying proposal to decouple restrictions from Covid-19 alert levels—DOH


The government’s pandemic task force instructed the Department of Interior and Local Government (DILG) to further study the proposal on decoupling restrictions from the Covid-19 alert level system.

This was discussed during the recent Inter-Agency Task Force for the Management of Emerging Infectious Diseases (IATF-EID) meeting, said DOH Officer-in-Charge Maria Rosario Vergeire.

“As to the decoupling of restrictions...the DILG was instructed by the collegial body to study further if local governments really that capacity to assess their respective areas and of course, to implement the restrictions on their own based on the risk level for each of their areas,” she said in a recent press briefing.

Last month, Vergeire said they would recommend this matter up to the IATF. The decoupling of restrictions from the alert level system was first proposed by President Ferdinand “Bongbong” Marcos Jr. last July.

During a press briefing in November, Vergeire said they will be recommending a new alert level system for Covid-19 that is similar to the tropical cyclone warning system of the weather state bureau.

“So we’d like to decouple these restrictions from this Alert Level System kung saan, ang Alert Level system ay gagamitin nalang ng ating bansa parang PAGASA storm signals nalang siya: na sasabihin nalang sa’yo, ‘oh signal 4 tayo ngayon’–alam pamilya at komunidad kung ano ang gagawin, hindi kailangan na nakatali pa ang restrictions sa (wherein the Alert Level system will be used just like the PAGASA storm signals in order to inform you like ‘oh we’re on signal 4 now’- and so that families and communities know what to do. There is no need for restrictions to be tied to the) Alert Level system,” she then said.

To recall, the Covid-19 alert level system refers to the community quarantine classification for dealing with Covid-19 covering entire cities, municipalities and/or regions; aimed to manage and minimize the risk of the disease. The alert level system ranges from 1 to 5.

Most areas of the country are now either under alert level 1 and 2.

Under the current alert level 1, “intrazonal and interzonal travel shall be allowed without regard to age and comorbidities. All establishments, persons, or activities, are allowed to operate, work, or be undertaken at full on-site or venue/seating capacity provided it is consistent with minimum public health standards,” the DOH said.

For alert level 2, “intrazonal and interzonal movement shall be allowed. However, reasonable restrictions may be imposed by the LGUs, which should not be stricter as those prescribed under higher alert levels and subject to the oversight, monitoring, and evaluation” of their respective regional IATF, the DOH said.