MANILA, Philippines – The Department of the Interior and Local Government (DILG) on Monday said it will issue a show cause order against barangay officials who are allegedly involved in the conduct of a street dance and procession in Barangay Basak San Nicolas in Cebu City despite the enforcement of enhanced community quarantine against novel coronavirus disease (COVID-19).
In a statement, DILG Secretary Eduardo Año said he also directed the Philippine National Police-Criminal Investigation and Detection Group (PNP-CIDG) to investigate and file charges against the organizers of the said event.
“We will not tolerate any violation of our quarantine protocols. Those responsible will be made to account. Hindi din naman tayo tumitigil sa pagpapaalala na napakalaki ng risk of transmission ng COVID-19 sa mass gathering and yet we see these kinds of activities and what makes it worse ay ang barangay na ito ay isang COVID-19 hot spot,” Año said.
“We will definitely get to the bottom of this. We have issued a show cause order against the officials who are involved in this blatant violation of the ECQ currently being implemented in Cebu City,” he added.
Año expressed his disappointment and frustration over the incident because the organizers still pushed for the event even if the said barangay is among the COVID-19 hotspots in the city.
Reports reaching the DILG stated that hundreds of people flocked to the street of Sitio Alumnos in Barangay Basak last June 27 to participate in a street dance and procession, which is in violation of the rules prohibiting mass gathering during community quarantine.
“We need people to practice discipline. They should know better dahil ang Cebu City ang may pinakamaraming kaso, dapat sila ang mas maingat,” the DILG chief said.
“We have nothing against the expression of devotion but in a time of crisis, kailangan mag-isip din naman tayo. Sa ganitong mga pagsuway mas maraming buhay tayong nilalagay sa kapahamakan. Disiplina Muna!” he added.
Barangay Basak San Nicolas is one of the 12 barangays in Cebu City placed under strict lockdown due to the high number of recorded COVID-19 cases based on the report of the Inter-agency Task Force for the Management of Emerging Infectious Diseases.
Other barangays under lockdown include Sambag Dos; Kamputhaw; Sambag Uno; Mabolo; Guadalupe; Lahug; Duljo; Tinago; Tisa; Ermita; and Tejero.
According to the Department of Health, Cebu City has a total of 4,562 total cases as of June 28, 2020; of which 3,892 are active cases, 592 have recovered, and 78 died.
Año said that the DILG is expecting to hear the explanation of the involved local leaders on why no criminal and administrative cases should be filed against them.
The DILG chief also confirmed that a separate investigation on 21 barangay officials and individuals is also being conducted by the PNP-CIDG.
In a Facebook post, officials of the said barangay denied any involvement in the alleged mass gathering, saying that they did not authorize the conduct of the street dance and Sinulog procession but why they did not use their legal authority to stop the event from happening was not sufficiently explained.
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