DILG, DOH launch ‘BIDA ang may Disiplina’ vs COVID-19

Romina Cabrera - The Philippine Star
DILG, DOH launch âBIDA ang may Disiplinaâ vs COVID-19
Barangay officials take their oath during the launch of the Barangay Disiplina Brigade in Marikina City yesterday. The campaign tasks members to remind residents of the minimum health standards to prevent COVID-19.
Michael Varcas

MANILA, Philippines ? The Department of the Interior and Local Government (DILG) and Department of Health (DOH) have launched a joint discipline advocacy campaign aimed at instilling minimum health protocols in communities for a “new normal” amid the coronavirus disease pandemic.

The “BIDA ang may Disiplina: Solusyon sa COVID-19” national advocacy campaign was launched yesterday in Marikina City.

Interior Secretary Eduardo Año said the campaign aims to foster a culture of discipline and people participation in the fight against COVID-19 by earnestly practicing minimum health standards.

“The fight against COVID-19 is not only the government’s fight, it is a fight of every Filipino who may get infected with this virus. That is why through ‘BIDA ang may Disiplina’ the DILG and DOH wish to convey to everyone that the key to defeating the virus is through discipline and following the rules,” he said in a statement in Filipino.

The campaign emphasizes self-discipline and a behavior change that need to be practiced by all citizens, especially at the grassroots level.

All local government units are encouraged to enact their respective ordinances that would push for discipline in implementing health and safety standards to prevent the spread of COVID-19. They were also tasked to organize Barangay Disiplina Brigades to remind residents of health standards and call the attention of protocol violators.

No ban on smoking

The Department of Labor and Employment (DOLE) has rejected plans of the Inter-agency Task Force (IATF) to ban smoking in a bid to control the spread of COVID-19 in the country.

According to Labor Secretary Silvestre Bello III, the IATF originally planned to ban smoking but he raised opposition, owing to its “serious repercussions to businesses and employment.”

“We can’t ban smoking because it will adversely affect the tobacco industry,” Bello, a member of the task force, said during the COVID-19 Coordinated Operations to Defeat Epidemic team visit in General Trias, Cavite on Thursday.

Bello noted the tobacco business remits P145 billion in excise taxes yearly to the government, while employing 2.5 million Filipinos. He said the industry “contributes heavily” to the universal healthcare fund of the government.

“If we ban smoking, those figures will be severely affected,” he added.

More assistance needed

Meanwhile, concerned agencies, like DOLE, should help companies avert further retrenchment of workers rather than just provide occasional subsidies to displaced workers or distressed firms, Sen. Joel Villanueva said yesterday.

Villanueva, who chairs the Senate committee on labor and employment, asked the DOLE, the Department of Trade and Industry (DTI) and other concerned departments to provide companies with all necessary assistance to help them adjust to the new normal and prevent deeper job cuts.

As workers continued to be retrenched, the senator raised the possibility of the government helping factories be repurposed to produce the needs of the country.

He also asked the government to campaign to buy Filipino products and ensure safe and COVID-free workplaces to fully reopen the economy and prevent further retrenchment of workers and business closures. – Sheila Crisostomo, Paolo Romero

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