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Palace denies meddling in LGU affairs with 'big brothers, sisters'

Malacañang on Tuesday denied that Cabinet officials were meddling with the response of local government units (LGUs) with community transmission of COVID-19.

Senator Risa Hontiveros earlier asked the Senate to investigate the designation of Cabinet members as "big brothers and big sisters" of local government officials in the implementation of measures to curb the spread of the virus.

Hontiveros described the setup as “toxic micromanagement” of pandemic response in Metro Manila and nearby provinces as she alleged that the Cabinet members intervened even at the barangay level.

“Mali po ‘yung interpretasyon ni Senator Hontiveros. Wala pong intervention, wala pong panghihimasok ang ginagawa namin. Tinatanong lang po namin kung papaano makakatulong ang pang-nasyonal na gobyerno sa mga lokal na pamahalaan,” presidential spokesperson Harry Roque said in a briefing.

“It is not our intention to intervene with the works of the local government units. Bigay lang po kami ng suporta.”

Secretary Carlito Galvez Jr., chief implementer of the government’s pandemic response, cited the need for effective implementation of COVID-19 measures down to the barangay level.

“Kahit na maganda po ‘yung ating plano pero hindi po nakikita ang implementasyon sa baba [ay] wala pong mangyayari sa ating plano,” he said.

Senator Francis Pangilinan also disagreed with the new assignments, saying it only added a layer to the “already highly-centralized yet ineffective COVID-19 response” through the Inter-Agency Task Force for the Management of Emerging Infectious Diseases (IATF).

Roque claimed that Pangilinan made the comment because the opposition lawmaker was seeking reelection in 2022. He also said Pangilinan’s Liberal Party had a “dismal performance” in addressing disasters when they were in power. -NB, GMA News