DILG orders reopening of hospital in Angeles City closed by City Mayor for admitting COVID-19 patient, PUIs from Quezon City
The Department of the Interior and Local Government (DILG) has directed the immediate reopening of a private hospital in Angeles City after the city mayor has ordered its closure after the hospital admitted a COVID-19 patient and other persons under investigation (PUIs) from Quezon City.
DILG Secretary Eduardo M. Año said that the action of Mayor Carmelo Lazatin Jr. to close the Philippine Rehabilitation Institute Medical Center (PRIMC) is contrary to the recently passed Republic Act No. 11469 or the Bayanihan to Heal as One Act. The law declares as a policy the immediate and ample provision of healthcare to Covid-19 patients, PUIs, or persons under monitoring (PUMs) and to promote and protect the collective interests of all Filipinos in these challenging times.
The Mayor of Angeles City has since complied with the directive of the DILG and the said hospital is now operational as of press time. It is now accepting COVID-19 patients.
“Hinimok po namin ang alkalde ng Angeles City na buksan muli ang PRIMC ngayong nasa gitna tayo ng Covid-19 crisis. We are in a critical time where there is urgency to provide health service to PUIs, PUMs or Covid-19 patients whether they are your constituents or patients from other places,” Año said on Monday.
“Access to health care is for everyone regardless of demography and identity. Local chief executives (LCEs) should not discriminate against non-residents in times of crisis in the same way that doctors have an oath to save lives,” he added.
The DILG Chief is reminding LCEs not to exceed their authority and pointed out that obstructing regular hospital operations, whether public or privately-owned, threatens the safety of not only the patients but also the general welfare of the community.
Año said that the DILG, as the agency mandated to assist the President in the exercise of general supervision over local government units (LGUs), is helping ensure the implementation of the Bayanihan to Heal as One Act, which empowered the President to ensure that all LGUs are acting within the letter and spirit of all the rules, regulations, and directives issued by the national government pursuant to the Bayanihan law.
“The Bayanihan Law mandates the government to partner with the private sector and other stakeholders to deliver measures and programs quickly and efficiently. What the PRIMC has done in attending to patients is only proper. That should not be a ground to abruptly order its closure. Malaking kawalan at panganib ang maidudulot ng pagsasara ng ospital ngayong tayo’y nasa gitna ng krisis,” he said.
DILG Spokesperson and Undersecretary Jonathan Malaya said that Section 6 of the Bayanihan Act penalizes LGU officials disobeying national government policies or directives in imposing quarantine as well as owners of privately owned hospitals that unjustifiably refuse to operate pursuant to the directive of the President.
“The DILG is again reminding all local government officials to fully cooperate with the national government towards a unified, cohesive, and orderly implementation of the national policy to address Covid-19. The Bayanihan Act allows LGUs to continue exercising your autonomy but within the parameters the national government has set. But please do not exceed your mandate and show compassion to all not just your constituents,” said Malaya.
He also clarified that LGUs are not allowed to restrict the movement of cargoes and people involved in food production and delivery including fish canneries.
“The free movement of all types of cargoes specially food and medicine supplies is important to our food security as a nation. Therefore, LGUs cannot imperil the food security of our nation by restricting the movement of cargoes across the country,” he said.