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Groups should be LGU-certified before conducting relief work

Romina Cabrera - The Philippine Star
Groups should be LGU-certified before conducting relief work
DILG spokesman Undersecretary Jonathan Malaya said that all relief operations should be properly coordinated with LGUs before the relief items are distributed at the community level.
Boy Santos, file

MANILA, Philippines — Volunteer organizations must now secure certification from local government units (LGUs) before they can conduct relief operations in areas under enhanced community quarantine (ECQ).

The Department of the Interior and Local Government (DILG) said that the certification would be needed before organizations can pass through quarantine checkpoints and conduct their relief operations.

DILG spokesman Undersecretary Jonathan Malaya said that all relief operations should be properly coordinated with LGUs before the relief items are distributed at the community level. 

“We are not prohibiting people from doing relief operations. What we are saying is we need to control the movement of people. That is what ECQ is, ergo, the government needs to regulate. If you want to distribute, whether large or small, talk to your LGU,” he said in a phone interview. 

Malaya assured the public that LGUs will be responsive in processing the certification of relief organizations and their volunteers amid the COVID-19 pandemic. 

He added that this policy is meant to protect both the volunteers and the communities that they are trying to help. 

“What we’re saying, if you are intent on doing a relief operation, then coordinate with the LGU and get a certification from them, that they are working with them. The LGUs will be so happy to work with them,” Malaya added.

Regulation over relief operations is now needed following reports that some individuals are taking advantage of the leeway given to some groups to violate the lockdown measures.

Malaya explained that they have received reports that some were caught with unauthorized placards that state they were volunteer organizations but were actually not. 

He said one-page certifications from the city hall would suffice and would be honored by the police at checkpoints. 

Malaya added that a “more efficient system” would be to let the LGUs handle the relief distribution instead. 

Malaya denied that the new policy is a reaction to the arrest of volunteers from the Anakpawis party-list who were arrested in Bulacan.

The arrested individuals claimed they were conducting relief organizations at a barangay there but authorities said that this was just a façade to conduct a mass gathering against the government.

JONATHAN MALAYA

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