Garcia to Año: Respect local autonomy
CEBU CITY, Philippines — Cebu Governor Gwendolyn Garcia clapped back at Department of Interior and Local Government (DILG) Secretary Eduardo Año, who said that their agency would not honor the Executive Order of the province for the removal of the mandatory face mask in public open spaces.
Año has instructed the police to apprehend the violators in Cebu Province as the DILG does not honor Garcia’s order.
“That’s up to him, I think he’s going out na, di ba (right)? But we will see. In the Province of Cebu, there is no apprehension. They do not apprehend, nor do they fine. Give them face mask, instead,” she said.
“Second, I am now invoking (Republic Act 7160) Section 5, which specifically stated that the Secretary of Health may upon the direction of the President, with consulation of the local government unit, for the duration of the emergency, but in no case exceeding a cumulative period of six months,” said Garcia.
For the governor, the Inter-Agency Task Force (IATF) has overstayed their welcome especially since in the past two years, there has been no consultation to the local government.
She reminds other local chief executives that RA 7160 was made into law to honor the local autonomy of the local government units (LGU).
“I do not draft policy out of capricious whim. Each and every decision is anchored upon existing laws and keen observation of the my local constituents…I am accountable to the Cebuanos and I must decide for the greater good for a greater number,” said the governor.
Garcia reminded the police that in the Province of Cebu, no apprehensions or fines were made for violators.
Therefore, they cannot apprehend or arrest those without face mask even if the DILG secretary told them to do so.
“I am calling the PNP (Philippine National Police) to make no such apprehensions. Remember, there is operational control for the local government over the police,” said Garcia.
The governor said she was also not scared that charges would be filed against her because the Local Government Code was on her side.
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