In the ongoing battle against COVID-19, local officials are looking for more time. Specifically, they want to have an ample adjustment period for national government pandemic rules. Additionally, they feel the need for authority to set protocols responsive to their particular areas’ situation.
League of the Provinces of the Philippines head Marinduque Gov. Presbitero Velasco Jr says they have written to the Inter-Agency Task Force for the Management of Emerging Infectious Diseases (IATF). In the letter, they are requesting the delay of the alert level system’s implementation until November.
Last month, the national government made the switch from “CQs” or community quarantine classifications (enhanced community quarantine or ECQ, and so on) to Alert Levels. It’s currently in effect for the so-called “NCR Plus” bubble. For October 20 to 31, it was expanded by the IATF to Calabarzon, Central Visayas, and Soccksargen.
“We think the alert level system is OK. But, of course, a uniform rule like this might be applied differently in the various provinces,” Velasco said at a public briefing, “because there are different conditions in their respective territories.”
When there are changes of that magnitude in the system, Velasco said, they hope it’s published in a newspaper of general circulation. “Those in mountains and other areas are not reached by reports and news issuances,” he pointed out. Reliable internet connections are not always available in different provinces.
The authority to set their own protocols is also being sought by local officials.