Issue of March 22, 2020
Mt. Province
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Barangays need help, not threat, Liga prexy appeals
by Rimaliza A. Opiña

Amidst the Luzon-wide enhanced community quarantine, frontliners in the barangays are only equipped with the barest of equipment that will protect them from exposure to people who could be carriers of the Covid-19 virus.

In a Facebook post, Liga ng mga Barangay- Baguio chapter president Michael Lawana said that instead of threats that barangay officials will be charged of administrative or criminal charges, government should help them cope with the numerous directives from the national government that they are mandated to implement all at once and with limited personnel.

Lawana has asked the Department of the Interior and Local Government, the Department of Health and other concerned agencies to also provide barangay frontliners with equipment that will protect them from possible exposure to the disease.

He said that while barangays have a budget to respond to the Covid-19, he said this is not enough to protect them.

Lawana also admitted that with their many functions plus their additional mandate from the national government, a lot of them are overwhelmed by the deluge of so many things to do. He appealed to the public to be more understanding of their situation rather than rant on social media about their shortcomings in responding to the Covid-19 threat.

“Sa kasalukuyan nasa sitwasyon kami na halos ‘di na namin alam ang uunahin namin –  curfew, home quarantine, transportasyon, relief goods, disinfection, monitoring ng mga persons under investigation (PUI) at persons under monitoring (PUM), peace and order, at ang aming mga sariling pamil-ya,” Lawana said.

“Ang inyong mga barangay opisyal ay limitado ang mga kakayahan, resources, pera, mga gamit – personal protective equipment sana para magamit namin sa pag-momonitor ng mga PUI at PUM sa aming lugar. Sa ngayon, wala po namang binigay ang DILG, DOH, at ibang ahensya na kahit kaunting gamit man lang. Puro banta at memo lamang.”

At this time where the public anxiety about the Covid-19 is high, Lawana appealed to critics to approach their barangay officials and share ideas with how barangay frontliners can improve their services. He also stressed that the policies being implemented in the barangays are based on the directive of the national government.

Lawana also appealed to critics to donate to those in need rather than complain about the new policies of the government.

In President Rodrigo Duterte’s executive orders on the enhanced Luzonwide quarantine, health officials, the police, military, local government officials through the DILG, are among the designated frontliners in the containment measures against the Covid-19.

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