LGUs can lift COVID-19 restrictions to grant groups, media access to Ulysses-hit areas: DILG chief

ABS-CBN News

Posted at Nov 14 2020 02:55 PM

Members of the Philippine Coast Guard conduct a rescue operation Friday after Typhoon Ulysses resulted in severe flooding in the Cagayan Valley region. Cagayan Gov. Manuel Mamba said on Saturday that the unprecedented flooding in the province was caused by several factors, including rainfall that washed down from nearby provinces, heavy siltation of the river, environmental abuse, and water release from the Magat Dam. Philippine Coast Guard via Reuters

MANILA - The Department of the Interior and Local Government has given local government units severely affected by the onslaught of Typhoon Ulysses the go-signal to relax quarantine restrictions to grant access to relief and rescue groups.

"Last week, I sent a memo to all LGUs in calamity areas and severely hit areas that health protocol restrictions can be lifted provided they coordinate with the (regional inter-agency task force) so they would know anong grupo ang darating (what groups are coming), rescue at relief groups," Interior Secretary Eduardo Año told reporters in Calamba, Laguna on Saturday.

"We will lift restrictions if it is for rescue and relief para mas mabilis ang actions natin (so action will go faster)," he added.

Cagayan continues to be submerged in flood waters as high as 15 feet, netizens who hail from and live in the province said as they desperately sought assistance from the government on Friday night.

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Some of the desperate calls for help appealed on the media to report about their predicament and help bring in relief goods.

But some LGUs reportedly required visitors—relief groups and media included— to undergo a mandatory 14-day quarantine before entering Cagayan.

Año added the lifting of health protocol restrictions can also be extended to members of the media.

“We can extend that to the media basta ang mission is to cover,” he said.

“But, of course, ang minimum health standards dapat ino-observe pa rin,” he concluded.