LPP chief asks LGUs to follow IATF health guidelines

League of the Provinces of the Philippines (LPP) National President Reynaldo Tamayo Jr. urged local chief executives (LCEs) to strictly implement the health protocols of the national government as he stressed that country is still under state of health emergency.

Tamayao issued the statement while acknowledging that the local government units (LGUs) specifically mentioning the cities, towns and barangays have the local autonomy under the Local Government Code.

He said the national government has created a technical working group (TWG) to ensure the public’s protection against Covid-19, adding that this is beneficial to the wellness of the people nationwide.

To recall, the provincial government of Cebu stood its ground when the DILG opposed its move to make the wearing of face masks non-obligatory, the same scheme that Cebu City mayor Michale Rama currently imposes.

The country incurred huge financial losses with the hard lockdowns in many parts of the country shutting down business firms including malls, restaurants, food chains, private and public schools among others rendering millions of workers unemployed.

The South Cotabato governor also emphasized that President Marcos' no lockdown promise will come to fruition if the LGUs will adhere to the health protocols set by the national government.

Tamayo noted that the DILG may send a show-cause-order that the concerned LGU needs to explain why it defied to enforce the health protocols set by the national government with the country still under the state of health emergency.

On Sept. 2, Cebu City Mayor Mike Rama denied shelving the implementation of the non-mandatory wearing of face masks in open spaces a day after supposedly acceding to the request of Department of the Interior and Local Government (DILG) Secretary Benjamin “Benhur” Abalos Jr.

Abalos even praised Rama for granting his request and, in return, guaranteed the Cebu City mayor that he will study the viability of the order to make wearing of face masks non-mandatory outdoors.

But with Rama’s supposed change of heart, Abalos noted that there seemed to be a miscommunication as to what he and the mayor discussed regarding the issue.

“I respect the statement of Mayor Rama, and I fully intend to keep communication lines open to give him the opportunity to explain his position and basis behind the enactment of the city-wide order,” Abalos said.

Abalos asserted the DILG remains firm and steadfast in its commitment to raise the issue to the Inter-Agency Task Force (IATF) and make Cebu City a pilot city that will help assess the lifting of masking protocols in outdoor areas amid the Covid-19 pandemic. (Chito A. Chavez)