Gov't officials defying health protocols won't inspire public compliance —DILG execBy LLANESCA T. PANTI,GMA News
The public cannot be expected to follow health protocols amid the COVID-19 pandemic if government officials are defying them, Interior Undersecretary Jonathan Malaya said Wednesday.
“Government officials must take the lead, lead by example. If the government official is invited to an event but he or she cannot ensure that minimum health standards will be implemented during the event, it will be best if this government official will just decline to attend,” Malaya said in an online forum.
“Government officials are under a microscope. Our people expect the public officials to comply with minimum health standards. If government officials fail to comply, how can we expect the public to comply? That is why it is very important for us to lead by example,” Malaya added.
National Task Force Against COVID-19 chief implementer Carlito Galvez Jr. said the matter will be discussed in the next meeting of the government’s pandemic task force.
“Iyon po ang isasama po namin sa IATF, that we encourage all public officials to be the example of observing the minimum health standards,” Galvez said at the Laging Handa briefing.
The Department of the Interior and Local Government (DILG) is currently investigating events that were attended by presidential spokesperson Harry Roque and Senator Manny Pacquiao in Cebu and Batangas, respectively, where social distancing was reportedly not observed.
Roque had said that he was just a guest in the event that was organized by the local government, and that he had no control over the number of attendees, although he had urged them to follow health protocols.
Malaya said it is the police which will conduct the investigation on any violation of quarantine protocols.
He also said local officials found violating quarantine protocols will be dealt with by the DILG, while those government officials outside DILG’s purview found in defiance of health protocols will be sanctioned by the head of agencies they belong to.
Aside from Roque and Pacquiao, other government officials who were probed for allegedly violating health protocols include Senator Aquilino "Koko" Pimentel III, who went outside his home pending the result of his COVID-19 test, and former Metro Manila police chief and now Philippine National Police chief Police General Debold Sinas, whose recent birthday celebration involved a "mañanita."
Pimentel and Sinas, however, are yet to face sanctions as a result of the separate investigation being conducted on them. — with Virgil Lopez/KBK/RSJ, GMA News