DILG welcomes 30-day preventive suspension vs bgy execs in karakol event

August 31, 2021 Jun I. Legaspi 393 views

THE Department of the Interior and Local Government (DILG) Tuesday said that it welcomes the 30-day preventive suspension of all the involved barangay officials in the ‘karakol’ and mass gathering event in Brgy. Santiago in Gen. Trias, Cavite last month and commends the immediate action and investigation of the local government unit (LGU) following the incident.
“Kudos to the city mayor and the Sangguniang Panlungsod (SP) of Gen. Trias, Cavite for acting quickly on the ‘karakol’ incident. May other LGUs take a cue from this incident, putting into the forefront the stringent implementation of health protocols even down to the barangay level,” DILG Undersecretary and Spokesperson Jonathan Malaya said.

Malaya said that following Secretary Eduardo M. Año’s order to conduct a fact-finding investigation, Gen. Trias Mayor Antonio Ferrer approved the recommendation of the SP to issue a 30-day preventive suspension to Barangay Santiago Punong Barangay (PB) Rolando Pagkaliwangan and Barangay Kagawads Joey Loyola, Francisco Solis, and Ferdinand Perdito.

In Sangguniang Panlungsod Resolution No. 03-2021-176, the local legislative body of the City of General Trias recommended the issuance of preventive suspension for a period of 30 days against the concerned barangay officials pursuant to Section 63 of the Local Government Code to further investigate the incident and to provide an opportunity for the involved parties to be heard.

“Sa bahagi ng DILG, kami ay patuloy na umaasa na sa panahong ito [30-day suspension] ay makumpleto na ang imbestigasyon upang malaman kung tunay ngang nagkaroon ng pagpapabaya ang mga barangay officials at kung dapat silang sampahan ng kasong administratibo,” he said.

“Pinakamahalaga pa rin na ang mga LGU hanggang sa mga barangay ay matuto at mas maging mahigpit para hindi na maulit ang ganitong insidente lalo na ngayon na may community transmission na ang Delta variant,” he added.

Malaya said that he hopes the incident serves as a warning to all barangay officials that the DILG will not tolerate any violation of minimum public health standards (MPHS) during the pandemic.

In a viral video posted on social media, hundreds of residents of Barangay Santiago participated in a ‘karakol’ procession and mass gathering along Arnaldo Highway, deliberately violating MPHS such as wearing of facemask and face shield; and physical distancing during the time when the LGU was under the General Community Quarantine with Heightened Restrictions classification.

Prior to the imposition of the preventive suspension, the city mayor issued a show cause order against the concerned barangay officials after learning of the ‘karakol’ procession participated in by several barangay residents which is a violation of local issuances and Inter-agency Task Force on the Management of Emerging Infectious Diseases Resolution No. 2021-50.

In his letter to the city mayor, Pagkaliwangan apologized and shared that he only required 30% of the barangay employees to join the ‘karakol’ and assist while following the safety health protocols. He also said that some residents who were seen not wearing facemasks did so “when things got out of hand after a heavy rain, overwhelming the people to flock and join the parade.”

Malaya likewise reminded the public, vaccinated or not, to refrain from participating in mass gatherings especially that the country is currently in a bout with the more transmissible variant of COVID-19. “Hindi pa po ito panahon para tayo ay magrelax at gawin ang mga nakagawian na nating gawin. Hindi pa po nawawala ang banta ng virus kaya tuloy pa rin ang pag-iingat,” he said.

Through the same fact-finding investigation, it was also clarified that the Philippine National Police was quick to respond to the incident to conduct the necessary investigation and apprehend the violators but the people have already dispersed because of the rain and the activity had already ended when they arrived.