The Department of the Interior and Local Government (DILG) last week advised all local government units (LGUs) that they can continue to organize and conduct public gathering, meetings and festivals so long as all precautionary measures against COVID-19 identified by the DOH are strictly observed.
DILG Undersecretary and Spokesperson Jonathan Malaya said that the DILG, Department of Health (DOH), and the Department of Tourism (DOT) jointly agreed to implement this new policy following the meeting of the Inter-Agency Task Force on Emerging Infectious Diseases in Malacanang.
Malaya said that this clarifies the DOH’s Advisory on Concerts and Other Public Events and Gatherings issued last February 07, 2020.”While they may continue with public gatherings at their discretion, we wish to remind the general public to wash your hands regularly, and to seek medical attention if signs of cough, colds, sore throat and fever appear,” he said.
He said that LGUs should strictly implement all the guidelines in handling guests during this global emergency which includes monitoring all participants to public events with infrared thermometers, providing all their participants with hand sanitizers or 70% isopropyl alcohol, asking everyone to use surgical masks (not N95) if possible, and providing wastebaskets for the proper disposal of all types of wastes.
“If the LGU decides to push through with their public events, they should discourage those with cough, colds, sore throat and fever from attending and they should have medical personnel on standby for any eventuality. Moreover, they should closely coordinate with their DOH counterparts so that they are properly guided,” he said.
Malaya said that the DOH and the DOT have assured all their stakeholders that have already implemented all the precautionary measures so it’s now incumbent upon the LGUs to do the same. “We have to show to our constituents that we have their safety in mind so let’s issue the necessary advisories before we hold these public meetings and events,” he said.
President Rodrigo Duterte himself has encouraged his fellow countrymen to travel with him around the Philippines. In a video message uploaded by Radio Television Malacañang the other Friday, Duterte assured the public that it is safe to visit the country’s tourist spots.
“To my fellow Filipinos, I encourage you to travel with me around the Philippines. I assure you that everything is safe in our country, be it an issue of health, be it an issue of law and order, and be it an issue of accessibility,” he said.