Chief implementer of the government's COVID-19 response Secretary Carlito Galvez Jr. on Thursday explained that Cabinet members would serve as "big brothers" and "big sisters" to local chief executives in the fight against the pandemic.
At a Palace briefing, Galvez said Cabinet members must know the situation on the ground so they could also share their expertise as the government seeks to balance economic concerns with health in the pandemic response.
This would also help in harmonizing national policies with the regulations enforced in localities, according to Galvez.
"'Yun po ang napagkasunduan dahil kasi nakita po talaga natin na pataas nang pataas ang kaso at ang [gusto] po natin doon, talagang magkaroon po ng close coordination ang national at saka po 'yung local," Galvez said.
"'Yun lang po ay para ma-harmonize 'yung ginagawa nating policy sa taas at saka po 'yung operational framework natin na ini-implement po sa baba. Talagang kailangan po nating i-balance 'yung tinatawag nating health at saka po 'yung tinatawag nating economy," he added.
"Puwede po silang gumabay na parang big brother ng ating mga mayors. Ito po nakita po namin na itong mga mayors po talagang ginagawa po nila ang kanilang tungkulin at ito lang po ang gagawan natin na parang big brother at big sister 'yung ating Cabinet members."
Presidential spokesperson Harry Roque said the Cabinet members will help in the COVID-19 response of the LGUs.
“Nag-assign lang po ng mga miyembro ng Gabinete kada siyudad [dahil] unang-una doon sila nakatira,” he said.
"Hindi po 'yan mensahe na may problema ang mga LGUs. Ito po ay mensahe na kung ano pa ang kinakailangan ng mga lokal na pamahalaan, narito po ang national government, narito po ang national IATF para tumulong.”
Through an IATF resolution, Cabinet members have been tasked to strictly monitor the health system performance, critical care capacity, and stringent compliance to surveillance, isolation, and treatment protocols of their cities and towns assigned to each of them.
Meanwhile, Galvez also said concerned officials had found out that COVID-19 infections spiked because of the problem in the isolation efforts of local government units.
"May problema po tayo sa isolation. Karamihan po sa LGU po natin ay hindi po nagi-implement ng tinatawag nating strict isolation. Karamihan po is tinatawag nating home isolation," he said.
"Karamihan po sa ating tao na naging positive ay nandoon lang po sa home quarantine. Nakita po namin 'yan sa ibang lugar, hindi na po namin sasabihin pero talagang 'yun po ang nakita naming culprit."
Galvez, however, said the government is recalibrating its strategies in order to stop the transmission of the virus.
So far, the Philippines has 143,749 infections, with 68,997 recoveries and 2,404 deaths. —with Virgil Lopez/KBK, GMA News