DILG to Police, LGUs and Barangays: Keep students away from malls, markets, crowded places
Following the President’s declaration of class suspension in the entire Metro Manila from today until March 14, the Department of the Interior and Local Government (DILG) has directed all Metro Manila Mayors and their respective punong barangays as well as the Philippine National Police (PNP) to keep all students away from malls, movie houses, public markets and other crowded places to stop and contain the spread of COVID-19 in the communities.
“The President has directed all local officials in NCR from Mayor down to Punong Barangays as well as all units of the Philippine National Police to ensure that no children are seen loitering around and, if they are seen, they are to be immediately sent home to do their homework,” said DILG Secretary Eduardo M. Año.
He asked the cooperation of all parents to discipline and closely supervise their children and ensure that they stay home and do their homework. “In the Task Force Meeting last night in Malacañang, the DepEd said that they will give home assignments or performance tasks to all students so that they will have something productive to do during this period,” he said.
He explained that if the students will be allowed by their parents and by the government to go to public places, it will defeat the very purpose of the class suspension which is preemptive social distancing to slow down the spread of the virus.
“Our police officers and the barangay officials will serve as truant officers to ensure that kids stay at home. I have also directed all our Metro Manila Mayors to personally direct their respective Chiefs of Police to implement the presidential directive so that Local Governments and the police will jointly implement this policy of the government,” he said.
The DILG Chief also directed all Metro Manila LGUs to suspend or postpone all mass gatherings in the meantime as another preemptive social distancing measure. “I cannot overemphasize the role of the Punong Barangays in NCR. They have to be pro-active in their respective barangays,” he said.
“We have no choice but to undertake these measures because public health demands it. Together with sustained hygiene (like regular handwashing, coughing etiquette, thermoscans and face masks), suspensions of classes and mass gathering will enable us to defeat this virus faster,” he said.
He also said that the DILG and the LGUs will strictly enforce the home quarantine measures for those suspected of having contracted the virus.
DILG Undersecretary and Spokesperson Jonathan Malaya said that the decision to suspend classes and mass gatherings this week was recommended by the DOH Expert Advisory Group to the President as a preemptive social distancing measure to lower the number of people exposed to the virus, lower risk of transmission per contact, and to lower the average viral load.
He explained that under Code Red Alert Sublevel 1 there is no need for a lock-down. “We are still at Sublevel 1 and this type of alert level does not require a lockdown but only enhanced hygiene and preemptive social distancing measures,” he said.
He also said that these measures are applicable only in NCR. “There is no decision yet about other places in the country. That would be dependent on the findings and recommendations of the DOH,” he said.
Malaya said that all these measures were discussed during the meeting last night of the Inter-Agency Task Force on Emerging Infectious Diseases presided by the President and was being done in the interest of public health.
“We are now under Public Health Emergency. All Filipino citizens, residents, tourists should comply with the lawful directives and advisories of the DOH and other government agencies to ensure the safety and well-being of all,” he said.