DILG files memo giving barangay execs 'more teeth' against mass gatherings

Philstar

May 26, 2021

MANILA, Philippines — The Department of the Interior and Local Government is set to file a memorandum ordering the mandatory patrols of barangay security personnel to clamp down on mass gatherings after a spate of viral superspreader events.

Speaking in an interview aired over CNN Philippines, Interior Secretary Eduardo Año asserted the need for more security in resorts and recreation facilities, particularly during weekends and holidays.

The DILG statement comes on the heels of a pool party in Quezon City that infected over 50 people in one barangay and prompted a community lockdown.

"We see that the weakest link is how our barangay officials handle super spreader events...We'll try to issue it this week," Año said in Filipino as he lamented the enforcement of rules against mass gatherings on the barangay level.

The interior chief and former military general said that the memo was meant to "empower" barangay chiefs in their implementation of health protocols.

He also suggested that barangays publicize hotline numbers in strategic areas so citizens could report mass gathering violators, pointing out that barangays should have a direct link to local police in going after quarantine violators.

In Caloocan, local executives and a police commander have already been sacked after failing to enforce quarantine protocols at a resort that went viral on social media.

"To make matters worse, the barangay captain was involved. It is embarrassing that instead of being the one to stop this activity, he allowed illegal cockfighting in his jurisdiction. The barangay chairman was not even bothered by the cases filed against a fellow barangay chairman in Caloocan," Police Gen. Guillermo Eleazar, PNP chief said.

To date, 1.19 million coronavirus cases have been recorded in the Philippines.

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