DILG threatens LGU officials opposing New Clark City quarantine
New Clark City in Capas, Tarlac was the venue for some events in the Southeast Asian Games in 2019.
AFP/Ted Aljibe, file

DILG threatens LGU officials opposing New Clark City quarantine

Ratziel San Juan (Philstar.com) - February 8, 2020 - 5:30pm

MANILA, Philippines — The Department of the Interior and Local Government warned local officials refusing to abide by the upcoming mandated quarantine of Filipinos, to be repatriated from China, in the Athlete’s Village of New Clark City in Tarlac.

RELATED: Filipinos repatriated from Hubei to be quarantined in New Clark City

The quarantine measure, announced on Thursday, was met with strong opposition by local officials in Capas, Tarlac.

RELATED: DOH: Measures put in place to ensure safety of communities near New Clark City

Mayor Rey Catacutan even asked President Rodrigo Duterte and Health Secretary Francisco Duque III to find an alternate isolation area for the Filipinos to be flown out of Wuhan, the capital of China's Hubei province and the ground zero of the newly discovered strain of coronavirus.

However, Interior Undersecretary Epimaco Densing III said that local government officials contesting the president’s order would face sanctions.

“Meron ho silang kalalagyan niyan, 'yung mga opisyales natin na haharang sa isang kautusan ng ating pangulo, so may kaakibat po 'yan na administrative and baka may criminal side pa ho ‘yan pagka kanilang hinarang po 'yan,” Densing said in a Saturday morning interview over radio station dzMM.

(These officials blocking the president’s order will face consequences, so there are corresponding administrative and possibly even a criminal sanction if they continue doing so.)

The Capas Sangguniang Bayan or municipal council held an emergency meeting on Friday morning where they unanimously approved a resolution objecting to the use of the said area in Tarlac as a quarantine site.

RELATED: Capas government opposes quarantine in SEAG village

The Interior undersecretary said the resolution is a mere toothless opinion that cannot override the quarantine order.

“Nirerespeto namin. Opinyon po nila 'yan. Pero pinag-usapan na ho 'yan, pinag-aralan at pinag-debatehan nung national government agencies po 'yan so napag-desisyunan na doon muna ilalagay ang ating mga kababayan na uuwi bukas galing Tsina,” he said.

(We respect the resolution. It’s their opinion. But it’s already been discussed, studied and debated by national government agencies so it’s been decided that the repatriated Filipinos expected to arrive from China tomorrow will stay there temporarily.) 

He cited the approval of the president’s order by the National Privacy Commission and the National Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Council.

Sensing also said there is no medical or other acceptable reason to prevent the quarantine from taking place.

“Established na po yung safety protocols nila. So pagdating ho doon, papasok diretsyo sa Athlete's Village. Kumpleto sa pagkain, doctor...'Yung mga dadalhin po doon sa quarantine area, wala po silang sakit. Wala silang coronavirus. Oobserbahan lang sila for 14 days.”

(The safety protocols have been established. When the repatriated Filipinos arrive, they will head straight to the Athlete’s Village. Food, doctors are already taken care of...Moreover, those who will be brought to the quarantine area are not sick. They don’t have the novel coronavirus. They will only be observed for 14 days.)

RELATED: Protocols set for the repatriation, quarantine of Filipinos to be flown out of Hubei

Returning Filipinos exhibiting symptoms of the 2019-nCoV ARD will immediately be admitted as Patients Under Investigation at hospitals instead of being sent to the quarantine area.

“So 'wag sanang mangamba ang ating kababayan at saka kapwa natin 'tong Pilipino na tinutulungan po natin. Sana po maintindihan nila 'yung sitwasyon.”

(So I hope that our citizens won’t panic and remember that these are fellow Filipinos we are trying to help. We hope they will understand the situation.)

The undersecretary said it’s still necessary to reach the Capas chief executive to allay fears over the incoming quarantine period.

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