OCD approval causes delay in lifting of lockdown in Cebu City
CEBU CITY, Philippines — The Cebu City government is facing an unexpected dilemma in its goal to graduate to the new normal amidst the Coronavirus Disease 2019 (COVID-19) pandemic.
This after the orders of Mayor Edgardo Labella to lift the lockdown in certain areas in the city such as Sitio Zapatera in Barrio Luz has remained unimplemented by the Philippine National Police (PNP).
Other barangays still under the lockdown are slowly requesting the lifting as well, prompting the City Council to discuss the issue during the regular session on Wednesday, June 10, 2020.
Councilor Alvin Dizon reported that Barangay Carreta has issued a barangay resolution to lift the lockdown in Sitio Bagong Buhay since the cases in the area have dwindled, and the workers have been asked by employers to report to their workplaces.
Similarly, Councilor Nestor Archival also reported the repeated request of Barrio Luz for Sitio Zapatera to be lifted out of the total lockdown almost a week after the announcement of the mayor.
Councilor Raymond Alvin Garcia, the majority floor leader, said that even the city was surprised of the protocol of the lifting of the lockdown.
The process starts with the recommendation from the Cebu City Health, forwarded to the command center for COVID-19 in the city, which will then recommend for the lifting of the lockdown to the mayor.
Garcia said they initially thought that the mayor only needs to issue a memorandum ordering the lifting of the lockdown and the police would immediately heed the command of the city’s chief executives.
“Apparently, the order has to go through the Office of the Civil Defense (OCD) to be lifted. The order will be approved by the OCD, then returned to the Philippine National Police (PNP) before the lockdown can be lifted,” said Garcia.
For some of the councilors such as Councilor Joy Young, this lengthy process can be considered as red-taping.
“That is additional red-tape, ngano man moagi pag Civil Defense?” asked Young.
(That is additional red-tap, why should the order pass through the Civil Defense?)
Vice Mayor Michael Rama said it does not make sense that the mayor was the one to give the order of the lockdown, but could not undo his order at his will.
Garcia agreed with the vice mayor, saying that the local government unit (LGU) should have the final decision in the lifting of the lockdown.
With this, the council has asked the executive department to be appraised of the protocol in lifting a lockdown.
The council also expressed support to the lifting of the lockdown in all areas ordered by the mayor.
Vice Mayor Rama said the national agencies must respect the jurisdiction of the city over its barangays and when the mayor orders the lockdown, the police should comply. /bmjo
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