INTERIOR and Local Government (DILG) Secretary Eduardo Año on Tuesday, March 24, said he will make sure that local government officials who will be found guilty of issuing quarantine passes and food stubs in exchange for a fee will end up behind bars.
Año said asking for a fee in exchange for quarantine passes and food stubs in the time of a public health emergency is unbecoming of a government official and goes up against the tenets of public service.
In line with the enhanced community quarantine in the entire Luzon which limits the movement of the people outside their residence, some barangays have been issuing identification passes to allow a person to go out and buy necessities.
Año said they have received reports that some barangay officials were asking for P20 to P50 for the issuance of such a pass.
He said they also received reports that some barangays were intercepting cargo shipments, resulting in the delayed replenishment of basic necessities.
“Mahiya kayo sa mga balat ninyo. Sisiguraduhin ko na makukulong ang mga abusadong ‘yan na nakuha pang manloko ng mga kababayan nila sa panahon ng krisis na tulad nito. You are expected to help your people not cause them more sufferings," Año said.
"We will impose the law. Wala po kaming kikilingan kahit mayor ka pa o kapitan ng barangay basta napatunayang ikaw ay may sala in proper due process, mananagot ka,” he added.
In Marantao, Lanao del Sur, police arrested Barangay Mantapoli chairman Cassar Abinal
on Sunday after he was caught demanding for P20 for each quarantine pass.
Police said there was even a sign on the wall of the barangay hall regarding the fee.
President Rodrigo Duterte has placed the entire Luzon under enhanced community quarantine in a bid to stop the spread of the coronavirus disease (Covid-19).
Localized quarantine measures are also being imposed in several local governments across the country.
Under the enhanced community quarantine, public transport systems are suspended, food and health services are regulated, and the people are ordered to stay at home.
Local governments are supposed to distribute aid to their constituents, especially those who are not able to work because of the lockdown. (SunStar Philippines)