LGU execs: Defer alert level expansion expansion – LGU execs

Neil Jayson Servallos - The Philippine Star

MANILA, Philippines — Local government executives outside Metro Manila want to defer the implementation of the new COVID alert level system until next month, saying the measure was “abruptly” decided.

League of Provinces of the Philippines president and Marinduque Gov. Presbitero Velasco Jr. said local government units (LGUs) should be given time to study the guidelines and issue executive orders to implement the system.

“We, governors of areas that will be affected by this abrupt implementation, have worries because the decision was abrupt. We need to study the rules,” Velasco said in an interview over ABS CBN’s Teleradyo.

“We’ve been used to the community quarantine system although there are similarities. Still, there are differences, that’s why we’re asking that maybe the government can move the effective date of the implementation to Nov. 1,” he said.

Quirino Gov. Dakila Cua, president of the Union of Local Authorities of the Philippines, echoed Velasco’s sentiments, saying a deferment would help LGUs adjust.

On Tuesday, Malacañang announced that the alert level system would be expanded to areas outside Metro Manila starting yesterday, citing the drop in new COVID-19 cases and lower hospital utilization rate.

Velasco said the abrupt implementation of the system could cause confusion among residents.

“It’s been set until the end of October. People would be confused. How could we disseminate these new guidelines immediately and implement them? We need to understand and meet first. We have different reasonable regulations being imposed now... We need more time,” he said.

Malacañang announced on Tuesday that Negros Oriental and Davao Occidental would be placed under Alert Level 4 while Cavite, Laguna, Rizal, Siquijor, Davao City and Davao del Norte will be under Alert Level 3.

Batangas, Quezon province, Lucena City, Bohol, Cebu City, Lapu-Lapu City, Mandaue City, Cebu province, Davao de Oro, Davao del Sur and Davao Oriental will be under Alert Level 2.

Metro Manila is under Alert Level 3.

Presidential spokesman Harry Roque Jr. said the alert level system would be implemented nationwide if studies show that it is more effective than the community quarantine.

Meanwhile, in Pangasinan, the number of new COVID cases dropped from a record high of 878 in one day in September to an average of 202 this month.

Provincial disaster risk reduction and management office head Rhodyn Oro said border control, intensified vaccination drive and stricter quarantine measures contributed to the drop in active cases.

Provincial health officer Anna Ma. Teresa de Guzman said 857,439 residents or 43 percent of the eligible population in the province have been inoculated against COVID.

She said the vaccination rollout in the province targets up to 30,000 people daily. – Eva Visperas

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