On eve of SONA: DILG asks public to avoid mass gatherings like rallies
A day before President Rodrigo Duterte’s 5th State of the Nation Address (SONA), the Department of Interior and Local Government urged on Sunday the public to avoid mass gatherings amid the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) threat.
In a statement, Interior Undersecretary and spokesperson Jonathan Malaya said the resolution issued by the Inter-Agency Task Force (IATF) for the Management of Emerging Infectious Diseases about the prohibition of mass gatherings is not unique to rallies.
“We wish to reiterate that any kind of mass gathering during a global pandemic, whether rallies, church gatherings, sports events, concerts, etc, all represent a high risk of COVID transmission. This is not and will never be unique to rallies. Thus, upon the advice of the Department of Health, the IATF issued Resolution No. 57 prohibiting any form of mass gathering as a measure against the further spread of COVID-19,” Malaya said.
“Therefore, upon the advice of the medical community, we strongly urge the public to avoid mass gatherings of any kind at this time due to the high risk of COVID transmission,” he added.
Malaya said the DILG agrees that the public has the right to peacefully assemble for the redress of grievances but now that the country is in the middle of a global pandemic, such assemblies are subject to reasonable regulation of the authorities to protect public health and the general welfare.
“Thus, we appeal to the rally organizers not to compromise the health and welfare of the people. We ask them not to be blind to the scientific evidence that mass gatherings are the fastest way for the virus to spread among their ranks which can then infect their families and ultimately their communities,” he said.
The DILG urged them to be responsible Filipino citizens and do their part in defeating this global pandemic.
“We ask them to be part of the solution and not the problem,” said Malaya.
As of July 25, the total COVID-19 cases in the Philippines rose to 78,412, with 25,752 recoveries and 1,897 deaths. Ella Dionisio/DMS