Espinoza: LGU officials were responsible

Elias L. Espinoza
·3 min read

THE Department Education (DepEd) 7 will investigate the participation of the students during the reopening of the tourism activities in Cebu that was held at Kota Park, Madridejos, Bantayan on Friday, Nov. 27, which was led by the Province of Cebu through its Suroy-Suroy sa Sugbo program.

Earlier, the Department of the Interior and Local Government (DILG) through Secretary Eduardo Año announced it will conduct a probe on this event for violation of the minimum health protocol on social distancing after photos of the event came out on social media where several people, including students, presumably below 21 years old and in their school uniform, attended the event.

DepEd 7 Director Salustiano Jimenez, when sought for comment, told reporters that DepEd’s Cebu Province division will lead the fact-finding to determine the reason for the students’ participation in the event. The government has not allowed the holding of in-person classes and extra-curricular activities to protect the students and teachers from the risk of infection since Covid-19 is still much around.

Gov. Gwen Garcia, together with guests, Malacañang Spokesman Harry Roque and some pageant contestants, led the event. They went to Madridejos by airplane and landed on the newly refurbished airport in the island. But according MCIAA Manager Steve Dicdican, that was not yet an inaugural flight for the airport. Roque, in an interview, practically washed his hands of any responsibility for the event. Of course, he was only a guest.

So, who should be held liable for failing to control the crowd and enforce social distancing during the event in Kota Park, Madridejos? No doubt, the officials of the Municipality of Madridejos should answer for the mess. The town officials should have prepared measures to control the crowd because in an event like that more people are expected to attend.

The presence of the students in uniform already suggests that the local officials have invited them to take part in the activity. There was a dance number caught on camera where the governor danced together with the young dancers, presumably students from a school in Madridejos. So, why did the local officials fail to enforce social distancing? Because, perhaps, there would be no impact if the people were two meters apart from each other. Lol!

There are many ways the town officials could have controlled that crowd. One, by limiting the number of people going in at Kota Park; and two, providing seats compliant to social distancing and according to the number of people expected to attend the event. Failing in those regard and being the host, the town officials should face the consequences.

The entire Province of Cebu is still under the modified general community quarantine (MGCQ) because there are cases of Covid-19 in some towns and cities. As a matter of fact, Cebu City Mayor Edgardo C. Labella imposed rigid restrictions for those coming in to the city from other provinces and he requested the city residents to limit their travel outside the city to avoid virus transmission.