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29 barangay officials summoned for failure to enforce ECQ 

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The Department of the Interior and Local Government (DILG) has issued show cause orders against 29 barangay chairpersons in Metro Manila for their alleged failure to properly enforce the enhanced community quarantine (ECQ) in their communities amid the coronavirus disease 2019 (Covid-19) pandemic.
DILG Secretary Eduardo Año said the move comes after reports received by the department from concerned citizens on the non-observance of physical distancing and continuing instances of mass gatherings in their barangays.

“We have reached this point because some village chiefs are not keeping a tight watch on their areas. We cannot be complacent with Covid-19 especially that we still do not have a cure for this. Many have died including doctors and health workers. Everybody wants to return to the normal way of living. To be able to do this, everybody must exercise discipline -- every family, every local government unit, every barangay -- must comply with the ECQ," he said in a news release.

The barangays issued with a show cause order are Barangays 11, 12, 20, 154, 220, 350, and 212 in Manila; Barangay Bagong Silangan, 178, 12, 176, 37, and 129 in Caloocan; Barangay Pasong Putik, Pasong Tamo, San Bartolome, Batasan Hills, Payatas, Fairview, Novaliches Proper, and San Antonio in Quezon City; Barangay Don Bosco, Moonwalk, and Marcela Green in Parañaque; Barangay Pio Del Pilar and Bangkal in Makati; Barangay Almanza 2 in Las Piñas; Barangay Tonsuya in Malabon; and Barangay Alabang in Muntinlupa.

Año said Undersecretary for Barangay Affairs, Martin Diño, is currently leading the issuance of the show cause order to the recipient punong barangays, who should be able to explain under oath within 48 hours from receipt why no administrative charges should be filed against them.

This includes the possible imposition of suspension pendente lite or during the litigation for failure to perform their mandated duties and functions in enforcing strict physical distancing directives (or ECQ) to slow the spread of and to defeat the dreadful Covid-19 in their local government unit (LGU). Failure to submit their explanation shall be deemed a waiver thereof.

Año said punong barangays are legally liable in properly implementing the ECQ as mandated by the Republic Act No. 11469 or the Bayanihan to Heal as One Act which orders LGUs to fully cooperate in the cohesive implementation of the national policy to address Covid-19.

In line with this is the DILG Memorandum Circular (MC) No. 2020-62 dated March 21, 2020 which enjoins LGUs to strictly deter mass gatherings.
Critical role of barangays

Meanwhile, DILG Spokesperson and Undersecretary Jonathan Malaya emphasized the critical role of barangays in the battle against Covid-19.

“People in the barangay are the ones who are fully aware of the situation in the community. You are the hands and feet of the government. Your role in making sure that the ECQ is strictly enforced and that the needs of your constituents are provided is critical," he said in Filipino, as he urged village chiefs to ensure the organization and functionality of their respective Barangay Health Emergency Response Teams (BHERTs) tasked, among others, to monitor and report suspect and probable Covid-19 cases.

Malaya says that BHERTs should also assist the Contact Tracing Teams (CTTs) of LGUs in the conduct of contact tracing for all persons with known exposure to Covid-19 patients.

The CTT in each LGU is to be led by the Philippine National Police (PNP) Chief of Police and also assisted by the City or Municipal Health Officer together with the Bureau of Fire Protection (BFP) and the Local Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Office (LDRMMO).

“It is high time that everyone's cooperation against Covid-19 is needed especially now that many lives were lost and the people's livelihood is sacrificed. Don't for you to be summoned, called out or given a show cause order,” he said.

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