DESPITE a lower COVID-19 alert level, the Department of the Interior and Local Government (DILG) Monday urged local government units (LGUs) to adopt and implement additional measures to strictly enforce the minimum public health standards (MPHS) in public gatherings that could turn into “super spreader” events during the observance of Semana Santa 2022 on April 11 to 17, 2022.
“This year is a week-long opportunity for the public to take their holiday break and for spiritual recollection and recreational activities. LGUs are, therefore, expected to be more creative and proactive in carrying out strategies to ensure that the public strictly complies with the MPHS while they are going about with their religious traditions or vacation,” said DILG Secretary Eduardo M. Año.
“We do not want the figures to go up again after the Holy Week because of laxity on the part of LGUs and non-adherence of MPHS by the public. Hence, local governments should expect and be ready to deal with the health and security concerns that may arise because of the huge influx of people going to the provinces,” he added.
According to the DOH BIDA+ Solusyon sa COVID-19 campaign, among the MPHS that must be exercised by the public are wearing of face mask, especially in public and enclosed places; washing and sanitizing of hands; physical distancing; referring to factual information from legitimate sources; and, taking advantage of free vaccines against COVID-19.
In an advisory released on March 29, 2022, Año said local chief executives must convene their respective Local Peace and Order Councils (LPOCs) for action planning, anticipating, and preparing for the heavy movement of people from various places.
Año said LPOCs should ensure the availability of adequate public transportation and emergency medical services, with peace, order, and public safety as the highest priority.
“Dalawang taon na hindi nakapagdaos nang maayos na Semana Santa sa ating bansa kaya naman asahan na natin ang malaking bilang ng mga manananampalataya na lalabas ng tahanan para dito. The bottom line is we should ensure a safe and peaceful observance of Semana Santa 2022,” Año said.
LCEs are also encouraged to coordinate with local law enforcement units such as the Philippine National Police (PNP) and the Bureau of Fire Protection (BFP) and other safety and security authorities.
In the same advisory, Año rallied LCEs to mobilize law and traffic enforcers, barangay tanods, Barangay Peacekeeping Action Teams, public safety officers, and other force multipliers to intensify visibility on local and national roads to assist the public – deploy patrols in crime-prone areas, and boost traffic management.
The said instrumentalities can also be deployed in air and seaports and other transportation terminals, pilgrimages, churches, markets, and other travel destinations and public places.
Año also emphasized that LCEs must ensure cleanliness and orderliness by mobilizing all resources in garbage collection and disposal, and clean-up operations of all public places.