DILG to probe into 'karakol' mass gathering in Cavite

DILG to probe into 'karakol' mass gathering in Cavite
Satellite image shows Gen. Trias, Cavite.
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MANILA, Philippines — The Department of the Interior and Local Government is set to investigate the “karakol” procession and mass gathering that happened in Arnaldo Highway, Barangay Santiago, Gen. Trias, Cavite last Sunday for violating IATF regulations as a possible super spreader event.

In a statement sent to reporter Interior Spokesperson Jonathan Malaya said that Interior Secretary Eduardo Año has directed the DILG Regional Office to send a team to General Trias to investigate the incident and identify those responsible for the filing of formal administrative and criminal charges.

The DILG also urged the local government unit to conduct testing and contact tracing of those who participated in the mass gathering.

“From the video we have seen, all of the minimum health standards and BIDA behaviors were violated by the participants. We will get to the bottom of the incident and determine who are those responsible,” said Malaya.

To recall, a viral video circulating on social media showed hundreds of residents attending an illegal karakol procession without wearing face masks, face shields, with no social distancing.

READ: Metro Manila mayors urge stricter quarantine, open to two-week ECQ

Apology not enough, DILG says

Cavite, which is part of the so-called NCR+ bubble, is set to remain under general community quarantine with heightened restrictions until August 15. 

Malaya said that the barangay captain, who reportedly allowed and even participated in the karakol, has reportedly apologized for the incident. 

The local government and police station will also be questioned on why the event was allowed to proceed and what action they have taken since the incident.

However, the Interior Undersecretary said that "no apology will be enough for his illegal act and for risking public health and safety in General Trias." 

Malaya also said that those who participated in the karakol procession should also be held liable for violating the City Ordinance on adherence to minimum health standards.

“The DILG has repeatedly reminded all barangay officials that they are our first line of defense against the Delta variant. All of them should serve as our role model and also model of discipline. The Barangay Chairman’s act at this time when we are fighting the Delta variant is inexcusable,” he said.

READ: NCR stays in GCQ 'with heightened restrictions' until Aug. 15

PNP ordered: Strictly implement heightened restrictions

Mass gatherings are not allowed unless it is essential for health services, emergency services, humanitarian activities, and some essential gatherings but up to 10% only of venue capacity, the DILG said.

Malaya also emphasized that entertainment venues like bars, concert halls, theatres, billiards, arcades, internet cafes, amusement parks, cockpits, and indoor court sports, and indoor tourist attractions are also not allowed.

He called on all local authorities including the Philippine National Police, to strictly implement the heightened restrictions to control the spread of the Delta variant.

“Outdoor contact sports like barangay basketball games are also prohibited under GCQ with Heightened Restrictions and we are reminding all LGU officials to implement this strictly in light of reports that barangay basketball games have returned in some places,” he said.

The DILG has said that local government officials may face charges for failing to enforce minimum health standards in their localities. 

READ: Whatever happened to: Quarantine violators in Philippine government

However, quarantine violators holding national government positions have largely gotten away with their breaches unscathed. 

To date, health authorities have recorded 1.57 million coronavirus cases in the Philippines.

The country's total count of Delta variant cases to date stands at 119. — Franco Luna

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