DILG defers barangay assemblies over coronavirus threat

Robie de Guzman

MANILA, Philippines – The Department of the Interior and Local Government (DILG) has postponed the conduct of barangay assemblies in a bid to prevent the spread of the novel coronavirus disease (COVID-19).

DILG Secretary Eduardo Año made the announcement following the declaration of the state of public health emergency by President Rodrigo Duterte after the number of coronavirus cases in the country jumped in the past few days.

“While the holding of the barangay assembly day is important, we need to think of the greater good and ensure the general welfare of our people,”said DILG Secretary Eduardo M. Año.

Barangay Assembly is a biannual meeting held on any Saturday and Sunday of March and October as mandated by Section 397 of the Local Government Code of 1991.

During such event, the punong barangay delivers the State-of-the Barangay Address highlighting his/her accomplishments and plans and programs for the year. Pressing problems of the barangay and the proposed solutions are also discussed in the forum.

The DILG earlier directed Metro Manila local government units (LGUs) to suspend or postpone all mass gatherings as a social-distancing measure to lower the risk of exposure and transmission of the virus.

Año also enjoined barangays in Metro Manila to activate their Local COVID-19 Task Forces (LCTFs) to help in monitoring and preventing the spread of the disease in the communities.

The DILG chief said the LCTF shall direct the Local Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Office and Local City Health Office, upon receiving the referrals from the DOH-Emergency Operations Center, to coordinate directly with, and convey or transport, the symptomatic persons to the nearest DOH referral facility for COVID-19 testing.

So far, the Philippines has 49 confirmed cases of coronavirus after the Department of Health reported 16 more infections on Wednesday afternoon.

Worldwide, more than 118,000 people have contracted the virus in over 100 countries, while the death toll exceeded 4,200.

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