DILG to parents: Keep children at home

Third Anne Peralta-Malonzo

PARENTS should keep their children at home and restrict them from going to the mall or watching a movie while classes are suspended over the Covid-19 threat.

Otherwise, the purpose of suspending classes to promote social distancing as a preemptive measure against the spread of Covid-19 would be defeated.

Department of the Interior and Local Government (DILG) Secretary Eduardo Año issued this advisory Tuesday, March 10, 2020, as he directed local government units (LGUs), barangay workers and the Philippine National Police (PNP) to remind the public to keep the students away from malls, movie houses, public markets and other crowded places to contain the spread of the virus.

“The President has directed all local officials in NCR from mayor down to punong barangays as well as all units of the Philippine National Police to ensure that no children are seen loitering around and, if they are seen, they are to be immediately sent home to do their homework,” Año said in a statement.

“In the Task Force Meeting last night in Malacañang, the DepEd (Department of Education) said that they will give home assignments or performance tasks to all students so that they will have something productive to do during this period,” he added, referring to the Inter-Agency Task Force on Emerging Infectious Diseases meeting.

President Rodrigo Duterte on Monday, March 9, ordered the suspension of classes in all levels in the National Capital Region (NCR) from March 10 until Saturday, March 14.

He made the declaration after announcing that there were already 24 confirmed cases of Covid-19 in the country.

Año also directed LGUs in the NCR to coordinate with religious groups in their areas for the cancelation of Masses and any religious activities as another pre-emptive social distancing measure.

“We have no choice but to undertake these measures because public health demands it. Together with sustained hygiene like regular handwashing, coughing etiquette, thermoscans and face masks, suspensions of classes and mass gathering will enable us to defeat this virus faster,” he said.

DILG Undersecretary Jonathan Malaya, who also serves as department spokesperson, said the decision to suspend classes and mass gatherings this week was recommended by the Department of Health Expert Advisory Group as a preemptive social distancing measure to lower the number of people exposed to the virus, lower risk of transmission per contact and to lower the average viral load.

Malaya said the situation, according to the DOH does not warrant yet the declaration of lockdown in Metro Manila. He reiterated, however, the need to enhance proper hygiene and social distancing to stop the spread of the virus.

“We are now under Public Health Emergency. All Filipino citizens, residents, tourists should comply with the lawful directives and advisories of the DOH and other government agencies to ensure the safety and well-being of all,” he said. (SunStar Philippines)