Duterte says Barangay leaders frontliners in fight vs COVID-19

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DAVAO CITY — President Rodrigo Duterte has instructed the Department of Interior and Local Government to ensure that barangnay officials follow the health guidelined in the fight against COVID-19.

In a press briefing in Malacañang on Monday with the Inter-Agency Task Force for the Management of Emerging Infectious Diseases, Duterte said barangay captains should be the game changer at the barangay level.

“I have articulated here time and again. In case of emergencies, in case of mobilization, the role of the barangay captains cannot be over emphasized,” he said.

“So Secretary [Eduardo] Año, you take hold, control of the barangays and just see to it that they are complying with the order, Duterte stressed.

As early as January 31, Secretary Año said the DILG already issued a memorandum circular for all LGUs in line with the IATF issuance of policies and guidelines directing them to establish their own novel coronavirus task forces headed by governors and mayors.

On February 6, the DILG issued an amendment to the circular detailing the role of different barangays in the fight against COVID-19. The barangays were tasked in the formation of barangay emergency health response teams, determination of barangay isolation units, and imposition of 14-day voluntary quarantine for resident arriving from countries with positive cases.

President Rodrigo Roa Duterte confers with Health Secretary Francisco Duque III while holding a meeting with the Inter-Agency Task Force for the Management of Emerging Infectious Diseases at the Malacañan Palace on March 9, 2020.-Malacañan photo

Under the guideline, it is the job of the barangay health workers to coordinate with the Department of Health (DOH) the transfer of persons under investigation to DOH’s coronavirus accredited or referral centers.

Año said that so far, local chief executives have activated their own coronavirus task forces.

With the declaration of the public health emergency and with the country placed at Code Red sub-level 1, LGUs are expected to play the most active role particularly in contact tracing at the barangay level and in investigating people with severe respiratory infection.

As the country’s first line of defense, the job of the barangays is to make sure that people under investigation are transferred immediately to government-designated facilities.

And under Code Red, sub-level 1, Año said they are going to impose mandatory quarantine to people who would have associated with the 24 positive cases reported recently.

He emphasized that for now, the most important thing is communication between the national and the local government units.

The DILG secretary also called for the recognition of the autonomy of the LGUs underscoring their ability to act and handle things at the local level

LGUs have the ability to track possible cases and impose suspension of classes as well as carry out restrictions and recommendations, Año said.-NewsLIne

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