MANILA - Groups conducting relief operations need to secure a certification from the recipient local government unit before they are allowed to pass through checkpoints amid the continuing COVID-19 lockdown, the Department of the Interior and Local Government (DILG) said Saturday.
DILG Undersecretary Jonathan Malaya said reports from Joint Task Force COVID Shield headed by Police Lt. Gen. Guillermo Eleazar revealed that many groups managed to pass through checkpoints under the guise of conducting relief operations.
"Dahil ginagawang palusot itong relief operations, ginawa po ni Sec. [Eduardo] Año na magpalabas ng kautusan na lahat ng relief organizations, kailangang magpakita ng certification na galing sa local government units na sila nga ay nakipag-[ugnayan] sa LGU na
'yun para magbigay ng relief goods," Malaya said.
(Because conducting relief operations is being used as an excuse to get past checkpoints, Sec. Año ordered that relief organizations would now need to show a certification coming from the local government unit where they plan to distribute relief goods.)
The DILG spokesperson reminded the public of the government's quarantine measures, including the stay-at-home policy.
"Hindi puwedeng pumunta nang deretso sa mga barangay at mamigay ng relief goods ang ating relief organizations (relief organizations can't just go straight to the barangay to distribute relief goods) because that will violate our policy of stay at home. At the same time, it violates the mass gathering and social distancing policies of government," said Malaya.
During Saturday's Laging Handa virtual press conference of the government, Malaya reported that members of the group Anakpawis who were arrested in a checkpoint in Norzaray, Bulacan on April 19 for violating the enhanced community quarantine measures have already posted bail.
"Na-inquest sila at sila po ay pinag-piyansa. Ginamit nila diumano 'yung food pass na inisyu ng DA (Department of Agriculture) para makadaan sa checkpoint," Malaya said.
(They went through inquest proceedings and posted bail. They allegedly used a food pass issued by the DA to pass through checkpoints.)
He said the DA already explained that the food pass cannot be used in relief operations as it is issued only to facilitate the movement of farm produce to the market.
Malaya appealed to relief organizations to heed the new DILG order by securing a certification from the LGU and presenting the same at checkpoints in areas where they will pass.
"Sa ganitong sistema mas mapapadali ang trabaho ng PNP kung kayo ay makakapagbigay ng certification coming from your recipient beneficiary LGU. Ito ang ipapakita sa pulis sa checkpoint. 'Pag mayroon na kayo nito, papadaanin kayo sa checkpoint, hindi na kayo mahihirapan," he said.
(With this system, the PNP's job would be easier if they (organizations) could present a certification from the LGU. They will show this to policemen manning the checkpoints. If they have this, they will be allowed to pass through checkpoints.)