Duterte: National government calls the shots in crisis, not LGUs

President Rodrigo Duterte on Friday, March 20, appealed to the local government units (LGUs) to abide by the directives set by the Inter-Agency Task Force (IATF) for the Management of Emerging Infectious Diseases.

“We are in a critical time [and] the national government needs your help during this time. Do not make this quarantine more difficult for our people than it already is,” he said in a public address.

“You are setting your own standards and making this lockdown more difficult for all,” he added.

Presidential Spokesperson Salvador Panelo later said that the national government will not tolerate any deviation and disobedience.

“Errant local officials will face administrative sanctions and criminal prosecution,” he said.

“The LGUs’ actions must be in sync and in unison with the national government’s directives in this state of national health emergency and calamity,” he added.

Duterte also stressed that mayors can impose quarantine restrictions because the national government is allowing them to do so.

“I was a mayor myself, in case you have forgotten, but this is an emergency of national proportion and therefore it is the national government that should call the shots,” he said.

“There is only one republic here, and that is the Republic of the Philippines. Therefore you should abide by the directives of the national government,” he added.

This comes after Pasig City Mayor Vico Sotto got into a row with the Department of Interior and Local Government (DILG), and later, the Palace.

Sotto on Wednesday, March 18, urged the DILG to allow tricycles in Pasig City to operate amid the month-long suspension of public and mass transportation, arguing that prohibiting tricycles to operate does more damage to public health.

According to him, residents without COVID-19, especially the elderly and those with existing medical conditions, are not able to find transportation to hospitals.

Malacañang, for its part, pointed out that social distancing would not be possible in motorcycles and tricycles.

Ritchel Mendiola

Ritchel Mendiola is a staff writer and reporter for the Asian Journal. You can reach her at [email protected].

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