MANILA— A group of provincial governments on Friday asked national authorities for wider powers and advance information on the implementation of COVID-19 alert levels.
Several areas on Wednesday started implementing the alert level system and accompanying granular lockdowns first tested in Metro Manila to curb coronavirus clusters and spur business activity.
But local authorities only received the resolution for the expanded alert level a day before its implementation, said League of Provinces of the Philippines president and Marinduque Governor Presbitero Velasco Jr.
He said local officials could have used more time to explain the new system to residents, come up with local executive orders, and meet with implementers.
The League of Provinces has written a letter of appeal to defer the expansion of the alert system towards the end of October, he said.
"Kung maisasama na rin po at mako-cover iyong ibang natitirang LGUs, bigyan din po ng sapat na panahon. Palagay ko po, mga 7 araw supisyenteng supisyente na po iyon," Velasco said in a televised public briefing.
(If other LGUs will be included and covered, we hope they would be given more time. I think 7 days will be sufficient.)
Video courtesy of PTV
Local officials, he said, also hoped that guidelines for the alert system could be published in newspapers to reach areas with poor internet and broadcast signal.
"Kailangan pong konsultahin talaga ang mga maaapektuhan. Baka meron po silang suggestion, ‘wag naman Level 2, baka puwede na kaming Level 3 dahil mas mataas ang transmission. O iyon naman iba, baka gusto nila Level 1," said the governor.
(Those who will be affected need to be consulted. They may have suggestions like don't place us under Level 2, but rather Level 3 because the coronavirus transmission is higher. Or perhaps others want to be placed under Level 1.)
"Ang hinihiling din talaga ng mga local government units ay mabigyan sila ng mas malawak na powers o authority para po sila iyong naglalagay ng mga measures o protocols na tugma sa kani-kanilang territorial jurisdiction," he added.
(What local government units are also asking is that they be given wider powers or authority so they can put in place measures or protocols that are appropriate for their own territorial jurisdictions.)
Malacañang spokesman Harry Roque said on Thursday local governments were consulted on the alert level.
The Philippines has tallied about 2.7 million overall coronavirus infections and at least 41,237 deaths.