DILG to give village execs 'more teeth' vs. mass gatherings

Philippine News Agency

May 26, 2021

DILG Secretary Eduardo Año (File photo)

MANILA – The Department of the Interior and Local Government (DILG) will issue a memorandum to strengthen the authority of village officials in enforcing health protocols during super spreader events amid the pandemic.

Maglalabas tayo ng advisory memo kung papaano yung ating mga barangay officials ay mae-empower natin at matulungan paano sa pagpapatupad nito. Nakikita kasi natin na nandito 'yung weakest link – 'yung paano ipatupad ng ating mga barangay officials itong tinatawag nating super spreader event (We will issue an advisory memo on how we could empower our barangay officials and help them implement [health protocols]. We see that the weakest link is how our barangay officials handle super spreader events),” Interior Secretary Eduardo Año said in an interview with CNN Philippines on Tuesday night.

Año was referring to how village officials would implement the rules against mass gatherings, such as fiestas, parties, karaoke sessions, discos, drinking sessions, basketball games, boxing events, and non-essential religious activities.

“Within the week, pipilitin nating mailabas ito (memorandum) kasi kailangang-kailangan na to (we will try to issue this since it is badly needed),” he added.

He said the memo would order mandatory patrols of barangay security personnel, especially during weekends and holidays.

Año also cited the need for village watchmen to visit resorts and recreation facilities in their areas as people are tempted to look for a "relief and refreshing outlet," especially during the summer months.

He said barangays should post hotline numbers in strategic areas so citizens could report mass gathering violators.

Año also pointed out that barangay operations centers should have a direct link to Philippine National Police (PNP) stations in running after health protocol violators.

Meanwhile, PNP Chief, Gen. Guillermo Eleazar, directed local police units to intensify their operations against the holding of “tupada” or illegal cockfighting in their areas.

He issued the order after the arrest of 17 persons, including a barangay captain, in Calamba, Laguna in an anti-illegal cockfighting operation and for violating minimum public health safety protocols.

Laguna is part of the National Capital Region (NCR) Plus and remains under general community quarantine with heightened restrictions.

Eleazar expressed dismay that among the arrested violators was a barangay captain who is supposed to enforce the law.

Ang malala pa dito, sangkot ang kapitan ng barangay. Nakakahiya at nakakagalit na imbes na sawayin ay siya pa ang nangunang pasaway sa tupada. Hindi man lang natinag si kapitan sa nasampolan na barangay chairman sa Caloocan (To make matters worse, the barangay captain was involved. It is embarrassing and irritating that instead of being the one to stop this activity, he even allowed illegal cockfighting in his jurisdiction. The barangay chairman was not even bothered by the cases filed against a fellow barangay chairman in Caloocan),” he said.

Eleazar was speaking of the chief of Barangay 171 in Caloocan who now faces an administrative charge over the incident at the Gubat sa Ciudad resort that opened amid the modified enhanced community quarantine.

“I am also coordinating with Interior (Secretary) Eduardo Año to give the PNP the clearance to immediately file cases against barangay officials where successful anti-‘tupada’ operations would be conducted,” he added.

Eleazar warned police officers not to get involved in illegal gambling activities.

Binabalaan ko rin po ang ating PNP personnel na huwag poprotektahan o kukunsintihin ang anumang klaseng iligal na sugal, gaya ng tupada, dahil siguradong mamalasin kayo sa akin (I also warn our PNP personnel not to protect or tolerate any kind of illegal gambling, such as illegal cockfighting, because your luck will turn for the worse because of me),” he added. (PNA)

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