DILG, DOJ to LGUs: enforce stricter health protocols’ to combat COVID-19

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BAGUIO CITY— The Department of the Interior and Local Government (DILG), Department of Justice (DOJ), and the Philippine National Police (PNP) are urging all Local Chief Executives (LCEs) to strictly enforce public health standards, safety protocols, and curfew hours in their communities in order to slow the spread of COVID-19 cases in the region.

“Let’s be more proactive in implementing stricter health protocols through our LCEs and other functionaries, so we can all return to normalcy the soonest possible time,” said Araceli San Jose, OIC-Regional Director of DILG Cordillera.

Adding, “To heal and recover as one, we must act as one. Our unity and cooperation can save the lives of our Kailyans in the region,” she said.

It can be recalled that the DILG, PNP, DOJ issued Joint Memorandum Circular No. 2021-001, requiring local government units (LGUs) to identify and designate appropriate places that will serve as holding areas for persons cited for violations and that the holding area shall accommodate as many persons as possible, without crowding and/or violation of social distancing protocols.

Based on the Circular, Government officials who fail to implement and enforce all applicable, laws, policies and guidelines will be held accountable for violation of the Local Government Code and the Revised Penal Code.

Meanwhile, the PNP should assist LGUs in the strict enforcement of all directives, laws, and ordinances particularly all applicable minimum public health standards and precautions such as the wearing of face masks, maintenance of social distancing protocols, and compliance with curfew hours.

“To avoid overcrowding and the transmission of Covid-19, the PNP should also establish holding areas where violators of health and safety standards will be brought in, and they shall not be placed with detainees in jails,” OIC-Regional Director San Jose said.

For the DOJ, in cases of warrantless arrest of persons for violations of health and safety ordinances, and quarantine and other related violations, the inquest prosecutor will conduct inquest proceedings, either virtually by way of e-inquest or physically by way of traditional face-to-face.

Further, the inquest prosecutor must determine the validity of the warrantless arrest, as well as the applicable violations of health and safety ordinances, and quarantine, and other related violations.

The City/Provincial Prosecutor must ensure the issuance or release of the approved resolution or information at the earliest opportunity to avoid unnecessary congestion in jails and detention centers.

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