MANILA – Members of the Inter-Agency Task Force for the Management of Emerging Infectious Diseases (IATF-EID) have no intent to control the local government units (LGUs) amid the fight against the coronavirus disease 2019 (Covid-19), Malacañang said on Tuesday.
Presidential Spokesperson Harry Roque made the clarification after Senator Risa Hontiveros slammed the IATF-EID’s supposed “toxic micromanagement” of LGUs’ Covid-19 response.
“Mali po ‘yung interpretasyon ni Senator Hontiveros. Wala pong intervention, wala pong panghihimasok ang ginagawa namin (Senator Hontiveros’ interpretation is wrong. There is no intervention. We do not intervene),” Roque said in a virtual press briefing.
On Monday, Hontiveros asked her colleagues to investigate the IATF-EID members’ assignment to monitor the Covid-19 response of local governments that have recorded high community transmission within their respective localities.
IATF-EID Resolution 62, which was approved on August 12, directs its members to provide “stronger” support to LGUs in Metro Manila, Bulacan, Cavite, Laguna, and Rizal to help them further boost their efforts to combat Covid-19.
The IATF-EID members have been ordered to strictly monitor the LGUs’ health system performance, critical care capacity, and stringent compliance with surveillance, isolation, and treatment protocols.
Roque maintained that the IATF-EID members’ role is merely limited to monitoring the LGUs’ efforts to contain Covid-19.
“Tinatanong lang po namin kung paanong makakatulong ang pang-national na gobyerno sa mga lokal na pamahalaan (We are just asking them how the national government could help the local governments),” he said. “It is not our intention to intervene with the works of local government units. Bigay lang kami po ng suporta (We just give support).”
The directive to IATF-EID members intends to “further operationalize the national government-enabled, local government-led, and people-centered response” against Covid-19, according to the resolution.
Hontiveros said IATF-EID members “are not experts nor do they have any experience in health system performance, critical care capacity and surveillance, isolation, and treatment protocols.”
She added that it was “imprudent” to assign members of the task force to monitor LGUs when it “has already been saddled with controversies involving its policy decisions and pronouncements, the accuracy of the data reported, and even some allegedly anomalous procurement-related transactions.”
Hontiveros also said the IATF-EID should instead trust local officials in coming up with a strategic plan against Covid-19. (PNA)