Following President Rodrigo Duterte’s warning on the arrest of barangay leaders negligent of their duties resulting in mass gatherings, eight punong barangays (PBs) will face charges for their lax implementation of quarantine protocols in “super spreader” activities leading to a number of COVID-19 transmissions according to the Department of the Interior and Local Government (DILG).
DILG Secretary Eduardo M. Año said that the President’s directive is an indication of the gravity of the situation, hence, the Department, in cooperation with the Philippine National Police (PNP), will make barangay officials responsible for violations of health protocols in their respective jurisdictions.
He said that eight PBs will be facing charges ranging from gross neglect of duty, negligence, serious misconduct, and violation of Republic Act No. 11332 known as the Mandatory Reporting of Notifiable Diseases and Health Events of Public Health Concern Act.
“Abiding by the President’s directive, eight PBs will be charged for failing to implement quarantine protocols leading to further COVID-19 transmissions in super spreader events. Isa itong paalala sa mga pinuno ng ating mga barangay na tayo ay seryoso sa ating kampanya laban sa pagsugpo sa pandemyang ito,” Año said.
“Likewise, we will not turn a blind eye on this negligence na lalo pang nagpapalala ng ating sitwasyon kontra COVID-19,” he added.
Año identified the eight PBs as Romeo Rivera of Barangay 171, District II, Caloocan City; Ernan Perez of Barangay San Jose, Navotas City; Facipico Jeronimo and Jaime Laurente of Barangays 181 and 182 of Gagalangin, Tondo, Manila; Marcial Lucas Palad of Barangay Matiktik, Norzagaray, Bulacan; Jason Talipan and Jimmy Solano of Barangay Balabag, Boracay Island and Barangay Sambiray, Malay, Aklan; and, Jessica Cadungong of Barangay Kamputhaw, Cebu City.
He said that these PBs were negligent of their duties in imposing quarantine protocols in super spreader events in Gubat sa Ciudad incident in Barangay 171, Caloocan City; recreational and resort operations in San Jose, Navotas City; boxing matches in Barangay 181 and 182 in Tondo, Manila; the Bakas River event in Barangay Matiktik, Norzagaray, Bulacan; Barangay Balabag, Boracay Island and Barangay Sambiray, Malay, Aklan; and Club Holic Bar and Restaurant, Barangay Kamputhaw, Cebu City.
“Ayon sa imbestigasyon ng DILG at PNP, may mga kaso ng COVID-19 na naitala mula sa mga iligal na aktibidad na ito. We cannot just let this slide dahil maaari itong gayahin ng iba pang mga barangay,” he said.
The DILG Chief said that a criminal case has been filed by the Navotas City Police Station against PB Perez; while the cases against PBs Jeronimo, Laurente, Palad, and Cadungong are forwarded to the Prosecutor’s Offices of their respective local government units (LGUs).
He added that as of June 4, 2021, PB Rivera of Barangay 171, Caloocan City is on a 60-day preventive suspension.
Violations of MPHS
Meanwhile, DILG Undersecretary and Spokesperson Jonathan E. Malaya said that more than 64,000 recorded community health protocol violations were registered from May 31 to June 6, 2021.
He said that 50,021 of these were cases of non-compliance to wearing face masks in public places at all times. He said that 28,087 were warned; 17,395 were fined; 3,413 were asked to undergo community service while 1,126 were arrested for regular filing of cases and inquest proceedings.
“These are still huge numbers considering that we are in this COVID-19 pandemic for more than a year now. Paalala pa rin natin sa ating mga kababayan na sumunod sa minimum public health standards (MPHS) para din po ito sa inyong kaligtasan at kalusugan,” Malaya said.
“Hindi din naman po tayo magsasawang manghuli ng mga lumalabag sa MPHS kaya pakiusap po makiisa tayo,” he urged.
The DILG Spox said that there were 13,882 reported violations of physical distancing and 613 recorded cases of conduct of mass gatherings.