Union of local authorities backs selective lifting of ECQ

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MANILA—The Union of Local Authorities of the Philippines (ULAP) announced Thursday, the clamor of their members for a gradual and selective lifting of enhanced community quarantine (ECQ) in the country.

Marinduque Governor Presbitero Velasco, chairperson of ULAP, an association of some 30 governors in the country, in a radio-TV interview monitored by Sandigan News and Banat Pilipinas News, Thursday, said many of their members were amenable to a gradual and selective lifting of the ECQ because some provinces had very low incidents of Covid-19 infection. Metro Manila is on its 38th day of lockdown due to the Covid-19 pandemic.  

He clarified though that it is up to the president and the Inter-Agency Task Force (IATF) for the Management of Covid-19 to finally decide on the issue because they have access to all information about the pandemic and the situation of the country. President Rodrigo R. Duterte is set to announce his decision on the matter on Thursday after consulting with medical experts early this week.

“Gusto namin na gradual at selective ang lifting ng ECQ sa mga lugar na maliit naman ang bilang ng Covid-19 cases.  Ngunit ipagpatuloy pa rin ang strict compliance ng ECQ at IATF guidelines na maging new normal na sa ating bansa, tulad ng pagsusuot ng face masks, maghugas ng kamay, social-distancing at iba pa,” the governor said.  

He is also said school opening can be postponed to another date and to strictly regulate drinking of liquor and smoking, which have direct health effects on the people. “ULAP is also amenable to delay the opening of classes until August or December to ensure the Covid-19 curve is totally flattened to a manageable level and re-infection will be avoided”, he said.

Governor Velasco also said he had already talked with DILG Secretary Eduardo Año regarding the reported mounting complaints of residents about some local government officials who are not implementing the ECQ guidelines and who are very slow in delivering government services to affected families.  Recently, some 29 barangay chief executive officers in Metro Manila have received show cause orders from the DILG.

He said that he explained to Sec. Año that many LGU leaders are confused on what to do because of so many directives coming from various agencies.  “Ang ibang direktiba ay walang detalye na mahihirapan ang ating mga opisyales sa pag-interpret at pagsunod nito.  Sana may translation din ang mga ito sa local dialects nila,” the governor finally said.

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