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More LGU flexibility in Community Quarantine classifications, IATF urged

League of Province of the Philippines - LGUs

LGUs should be allowed to determine appropriate community quarantine levels to address their current status of COVID-19 infections.

“Local government units (LGUs) should have sufficient leeway and flexibility in classifying the community quarantine status of their respective jurisdictions,” League of Provinces of the Philippines national president and Marinduque Gov. Presbitero J. Velasco said.

The LPP has written the Inter-Agency Task Force (IATF) for the Management of Emerging Infectious Diseases, through Health Secretary Francisco T. Duque III and Cabinet Secretary Karlo Alexei Nograles, reiterating its proposal to allow LGUs to determine the appropriate community quarantine classification it needs to implement to immediately address a sudden surge in COVID-19 cases.

“We are requesting from the IATF authority to reclassify the level of community quarantine and immediately implement the same. A matter of exigency such as this must be dealt with by the LGUs having the direct and first-hand knowledge of the situation,” Gov. Velasco explained.

Nevertheless, he said that the reclassification by LGUs will still be in accordance with the parameters and standards set by the IATF.

The League president further explained that they will still leave it to the IATF to determine the national classification of the community quarantine for each province and highly-urbanized and independent component city that is being done on a fortnightly basis.

“The flexibility we are requesting are in situations where there are sudden surges in cases in a particular province, and there is an immediate need to regulate and even tighten the movement of people in and out of the area to arrest further transmission of COVID-19 infections, most especially the delta variant.”

Makati City Pabakuna

Gov. Velasco said that in cases of sudden surges of cases, the LGUs need to ensure the safety and protection of their constituents, thus must take immediate action by escalating the prevailing community quarantine.

He underscored, however, that the League has also proposed that in such situations, all actions of community quarantine reclassification done by LGUs will be immediately reported to the Regional Inter-Agency Task Force (RIATF) and the IATF within 24-hours.

And if deemed necessary, the IATF may rectify the community quarantine classification and immediately inform the concerned LGU of the same.

Gov. Velasco explained further that each LGU encounters a COVID-19-related issue that may be unique due to several factors – such as the number of inhabitants, the effectivity of local procedures and protocols, the availability of facilities, vaccines and basic necessities, and the sufficiency of funds and equipment.

It may be difficult, if not almost impossible, for the national government, including the IATF, to take all of these factors into account, and issue general guidelines for the governance of all LGUs whose conditions are different, volatile and continue to vary by the day.

“It is reasonable to presume that the LGUs, as frontliners in this current health crisis, are in the best position to expeditiously and effectively address specific issues and concerns arising from the COVID 19 pandemic at the local level,” he added.