MANILA – Members of the Inter-Agency Task Force for the Management of Emerging Infectious Diseases (IATF-EID) have been merely tasked to assist local government units (LGUs) in Metro Manila and four nearby provinces, Malacañang said on Thursday.
In a virtual press briefing, Presidential Spokesperson Harry Roque clarified that the latest directive is not tantamount to the LGUs’ failure to address the coronavirus disease 2019 (Covid-19) pandemic within their respective localities.
“Hindi po iyan mensahe na may problema ang mga LGU. Ito po ay mensahe na kung ano pa ang kinakailangan ng local na pamahalaan, nandito ang national government, nandito ang IATF para tumulong (That’s not a message that LGUs have a problem. That’s a message that the national government and the IATF are here to help the local government),” Roque said.
Resolution 62, approved by the IATF-EID on Wednesday, assigned members of the task force to provide “stronger” support to LGUs that continue to deal with high community transmissions within their respective localities.
The LGUs would not be stripped of their role in the continuing fight against Covid-19, he said, adding that the IATF-EID members would merely “push for the interest” of local governments in Metro Manila and its nearby provinces.
“Suporta lang po kami sa mga local na pamahalaan. Sila pa rin po ang mamumuno sa kani-kanilang mga siyudad at munisipyo (We will just give support to local governments. They will still be the ones to lead their respective cities and municipalities),” Roque said.
He said President Rodrigo Duterte would only intervene if the LGUs fail to fulfill their mandate to help the national government combat Covid-19.
“Ang tanging Pangulo lang po ang may exercising supervisory powers over the mayors. So kung talagang may problema po (Only the President has the exercising supervisory powers over the mayors. So, if there is really a problem), it will require presidential intervention,” Roque said.
He noted that the new assignment given to IATF-EID members was meant to “further operationalize the national government-enabled, local government-led, and people-centered response” against Covid-19.
Resolution 62 directed members of the IATF-EID to strictly monitor the LGUs’ health system performance, critical care capacity, and stringent compliance with surveillance, isolation, and treatment protocols.
Health Secretary Francisco Duque III and Cabinet Secretary Karlo Nograles have been assigned to provide support to the Quezon City government, while Secretaries Leonor Briones (Education) and Bernadette Romulo Puyat (Tourism) have been tasked to assess the situation in Pasig City.
Metropolitan Manila Development Authority Chairman Danilo Lim has been instructed to assist the municipality of Pateros, while Labor Secretary Silvestre Bello III and Commissioner on Higher Education Chairperson Prospero de Vera III have been told to check the Covid-19 response of Marikina City and Malabon City.
The Taguig City government will be monitored by Interior Secretary Eduardo Año and the country’s testing czar Vivencio Dizon, while the city of Manila will get assistance from Information and Communications Technology Secretary Gregorio Honasan II and Anti-Red Tape Authority Director General Jeremiah Belgica.
Trade Secretary Ramon Lopez will help the Mandaluyong City government, while National Security Adviser Hermogenes Esperon Jr. will assist the Makati City government.
The Muntinlupa City government will be assisted by Socioeconomic Planning Acting Secretary Karl Kendrick Chua, while the Parañaque City government will be monitored by National Policy Against Covid-19 Chief Implementer, Secretary Carlito Galvez Jr.
Public Works Secretary Mark Villar has been assigned to help the Las Piñas City government, while Presidential Spokesperson Harry Roque Jr. has been ordered to assist Pasay City.
Caloocan City will get support from Agriculture Secretary William Dar, while Navotas City will get help from Budget Secretary Wendel Avisado.
The resolution also ordered Science and Technology Secretary Fortunato de la Peña to monitor the Covid-19 response of the Valenzuela City government.
For provinces with high community transmissions, Justice Secretary Menardo Guevarra has been directed to assess the situation in Bulacan, Defense Secretary Delfin Lorenzana in Cavite, Communications Secretary Martin Andanar in Laguna, and Energy Secretary Alfonso Cusi in Rizal. (PNA)