The Department of Interior and Local Government will investigate the “karakol” procession and mass gathering that happened in Arnaldo Highway, Barangay Santiago, Gen. Trias, Cavite last Sunday for violating IATF rules and regulations against mass gathering and for being a possible super spreader event.
DILG Undersecretary and Spokesperson Jonathan Malaya said that Secretary Eduardo Año has directed the DILG Regional Office to send a team to General Trias to investigate the incident and determine who is responsible so that formal administrative and criminal charges can be brought against them.
In a viral video circulating on social media, hundreds of residents are seen attending the illegal karakol procession without using face masks, face shields, with no social distancing even if Cavite is under GCQ with Heightened Restrictions.
“From the video we have seen, all of the minimum health standards and BIDA behaviors were violated by the participants. We will get to the bottom of the incident and determine who are those responsible,” said Malaya.
He said that the barangay captain, who reportedly allowed and even participated in the karakol, has reportedly apologized for the incident but no apology will be enough for his illegal act and for risking public health and safety in General Trias.
“The DILG has repeatedly reminded all barangay officials that they are our first line of defense against the Delta variant. All of them should serve as our role model and also model of discipline. The Barangay Chairman’s act at this time when we are fighting the Delta variant is inexcusable,” he said.
Malaya also said that those who participated in the karakol procession should also be held liable for violating the City Ordinance on adherence to minimum health standards.
He said that they will also ask the City Government and the General Trias Police Station why the event was allowed to proceed and what action they have taken when they learned of the incident.
He said that the City Government should do testing and contact tracing of those who participated in the mass gathering.
He reminded the public that GCQ with Heightened Restrictions means that mass gatherings are not allowed unless it is essential for health services, emergency services, humanitarian activities, and some essential gatherings but up to 10% only of venue capacity.
He also emphasized that entertainment venues like bars, concert halls, theatres, billiards, arcades, internet cafes, amusement parks, cockpits, and indoor court sports, and indoor tourist attractions are also not allowed.
“Outdoor contact sports like barangay basketball games are also prohibited under GCQ with Heightened Restrictions and we are reminding all LGU officials to implement this strictly in light of reports that barangay basketball games have returned in some places,” he said.
He called on all local authorities including the Philippine National Police, to strictly implement the heightened restrictions to control the spread of the Delta variant.