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DILG official tells local execs selling passes, food stub: Don't be stupid

Enraged by reports that some barangay officials are collecting fees for quarantine passes, food stubs, and community IDs, an official of the Department of the Interior and Local Government on Sunday said this acts are illegal and stupid.

In an interview on Super Radyo dzBB, DILG Undersecretary Jonathan Malaya said, "Sana gamitin ng mga barangay captain at mga konsehal ang kanilang mga utak. Sa panahong ito, nakadagdag pa sila sa problema ng Pilipinas kung hindi nila pag-iisipang mabuti ang kanilang mga ginagawa."

Likewise, Malaya said that collecting fees for quarantine passes, blocking cargo trucks bringing food supplies, and selling barangay pass IDs as much as P500, is illegal and has corresponding accountability to the law.

"They are supposed to give assistance and not exact fees from people in need in the midst of the coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) health emergency," he pointed out.

"I'll make this clear: Barangay officials have no authority to impose such fees and to set up checkpoints without coordinating with their mayors."

Also, he said that neither President Rodrigo Duterte nor the Inter-Agency Task Force (IATF) for COVID-19 Luzon-wide enhanced community quarantine has given authority to barangays to issue their own quarantine pass.

"If they'll do so, it should only be for the purpose of ensuring compliance with the social distancing policy, and not for fund-raising purposes," he said.

He also cited reports that some barangays put some conditions in barangay passes, including setting separate time periods for buying food, medicines, and other household requirements. This should be coordinated with the mayor.

Moreover, he said, "Under the Luzon-wide quarantine, hindi na po kailangan ang local lockdown, except dun sa mga lockdown na extreme at para lamang ito mga hot zones na may maraming kumpirmadong COVID-19 cases, Malaya said.

As to barangays who need to raise funds for the implementation of the quarantine, they should go to their mayors, "the money is there," he pointed out.

Earlier, DILG Secretary Eduardo Año warned local officials collecting fees for passes and food stubs and allegedly taking advantage of the enhanced community quarantine to raise funds or for personal gains they will be facing criminal and administrative cases.

Año urged the people to call the DILG Emergency Operations Center hotlines 02-8876-3454 local 8806/8810 or 02-8925-0343 for any complaints against local officials on the implementation of the enhanced community quarantine against COVID. —LBG, GMANews