By Fernan Angeles
AN obviously exasperated President Rodrigo Duterte issued a stern warning to local officials to enforce strict health protocols against coronavirus within their jurisdiction – or face criminal and administrative charges.
In a televised national address, Duterte cited recent figures that saw the Philippines breach the one million mark representing the total number of COVID-19 cases in the country as he reminded mayors and barangay captains that they would be slapped with charges over “dereliction of duty” should they fail to impose rules needed to prevent COVID-19 transmission.
“It is a violation of the law and if you don’t enforce the law, there is a dereliction of duty which is punishable under the Revised Penal Code,” said Duterte, who hinted ignorance among them would not be an excuse.
For the nth time, the President ordered the Department of the Interior and Local Government (DILG) once again to hold local officials accountable if they fail to enforce the government’s rules.
“If fiestas or dancing events happen again, the DILG would be called as well as the mayor and the barangay captain. I will direct the secretary of the DILG to hold the mayors responsible for this kind of events happening in their places,” he said.
Duterte has opted to extend the modified enhanced community quarantine in Metro Manila, Riza, Lagina, Cavite and Bulacan, collectively referred to as NCR Plus until May 14. Mass gatherings remain prohibited in these areas which have been collectively recording an average of a little less than 10,000 fresh cases of COVID-19 infections since March.