MANILA — The Department of the Interior and Local Government (DILG) on Saturday said it is prohibiting local chief executives from travelling abroad as the country grapples with the coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) pandemic.
DILG Secretary Eduardo Año made the announcement on DZMM's "Kuwentuhang Lokal" on the eve of the implementation of community quarantine in Metro Manila.
"For the time being, for the period of 30 days, we're temporarily banning foreign travels of our chief executives so that they can focus on their jobs and remain in their respective municipalities and province," Año said.
The Interior chief said applications for foreign travel authority will be suspended.
The ban covers mayors, governors, and other key officials of a local government unit.
Metro Manila will be under community quarantine beginning Sunday, March 15, to April 14 in a bid to arrest the spread of COVID-19, now considered pandemic by the World Health Organization
Meanwhile, cockfighting or "sabong" will also be suspended in compliance with the Palace memorandum that prohibits mass gathering.
Road clearing operations will likewise be suspended, said Año, in order for the local officials to focus on curbing the spread of COVID-19.
"I want our mayors to focus on their jobs so I am suspending road clearing operation for the time being at dito muna tayo mag-focus," he said.
As of Saturday, the Philippines has recorded 98 COVID-19 cases and 8 of the patients have died.