DILG can't allow Pasig to use tricycles transport health workers
The Department of Interior and Local Government (DILG) on Thursday said they cannot allow the request of the mayor of Pasig City to exempt them on the use of public mass transportation, specifically tricycles, in their area.
In a press briefing, Interior Undersecretary Jonathan Malaya said they respect the opinion of Pasig City Mayor Vico Sotto but granting his request to allow tricycle operation in his area will prompt other local chief executives to request the same.
“We understand why Mayor Vico Sotto is asking for an exemption but first, let me emphasize that mass transportation is prohibited during quarantine period because it cause the spreading of virus… Every person is a potential carrier that’s why we suspend mass transportation from tricycle to bus,” he said.
“Now, he is asking for an exemption for health workers but based on our monitoring in Pasig, it is not only the health workers who are riding tricycles, all people in Pasig… If the purpose is for health workers, we hope the Pasig City will look into other cities,” Malaya added citing Paranaque City, which borrowed buses from hotels in the area for transportation of their health workers.
Malaya said allowing mass transportation in every city will defeat the purpose of enhanced community quarantine.
“We respect the opinion of Mayor Sotto in Pasig but we cannot grant his request. If we allow mass transportation in Pasig, everyone will make a request. If we give exemption, we defeat the entire purpose of quarantine,” he said.
Malaya asked for Sotto’s understanding on the decision of the national government.
“I appeal to Mayor Vico to support the measures of the government. He can provide vehicles, Pasig City has a lot of vehicles… use the ones given to DepEd (Department of Education), CoA (Commission on Audit), pull out all government vehicles and give drivers their own route so their health workers can go to hospitals,” he said.
Earlier, Malaya said Sotto will not be suspended for his action as they would want to talk to him.
However, Malaya reminded local chief executives and barangay officials that they will face cases if they fail to address the COVID-19 in their respective areas.
“For barangay or local government officials who will neglect on their duty and be proven based on the report we received, we can file a case against you, gross negligence or gross neglect of duty or insubordination because the President’s (Rodrigo Duterte) mandate is for the barangay (captain) and mayors to lead in implementing measure to fight the COVID-19. This is not because of the order of the president but for the welfare of your constituents,” he said.
“Once again, I appeal to mayors and barangay officials that we should not reach the level that the DILG need to file a case. We hope you will do you duty as part of government service,” he added.
He also urged the public to report incompetent officials to the DILG.
“This is will be a challenge to local government units, this will show the public who is competent (to be a leader) and who is not,” Malaya said. Ella Dionisio/DMS