Press Release
August 17, 2020

Stop micro-managing COVID response in 'Big brother' of LGUs: Pangilinan

HAVING Cabinet members play "Big Brother" to local government units is a form of micromanagement that may further slow overall government response to the still rising cases of COVID-positive patients, said Sen. Francis "Kiko" Pangilinan Monday.

"Sa isang emergency situation tulad ng COVID pandemic, kritikal ang maliksi at angkop na pagkilos, hindi micromanagement. Nagpapabagal ito sa pagtugon sa krisis," he said.

Pangilinan said LGUs have been at the forefront in combating the pandemic, especially in addressing the needs of their constituents, using their own resources such as calamity funds and internal revenue allocations.

"Lumabas sa pandemyang ito ang pagtutulungan ng mga nasa komunidad. Mas alam ng mga tao sa lokal ang kanilang komunidad kaya mas angkop ang pagtugon nila. Syempre, sila ang mga kapitbahay natin," he said.

"Kung hindi rin lang magbibigay ng dagdag na resources, huwag na sanang manghimasok pa ang mga opisyal ng national government," he added.

Through a resolution of the Inter-Agency Task Force for the Management of Emerging Infectious Diseases, Cabinet members have been tasked to strictly monitor the health system performance, critical care capacity, and stringent compliance to surveillance, isolation, and treatment protocols of their cities and towns assigned to each of them.

"I don't see how giving the national government more powers over the LGUs will help. It will be another layer in the already highly-centralized yet ineffective COVID-19 response," Pangilinan said.

"Why give more powers to those whose performance leaves much to be desired?" he asked.

The senator stressed that the national government officials had all the powers and resources at their disposal, yet still failed to reach their targets in the fight against COVID-19.

"Pagkatapos pabayaan ang mga LGU na tumayo sa sarili nilang paa sa pagharap sa pandemya sa nakaraang limang buwan, sasabihin ngayon na kailangan ng big brother ang mga LGUs?" he said.

Pangilinan stressed that local executives must be given leeway in implementing national policies on COVID-19 response. He said the one-size fits-all approach in the IATF's big brother scheme to gain control of the virus could actually have a detrimental effect in helping constituents survive the crisis.

"What the national government should focus on is closely monitor over national agencies and institutions such as PhilHealth," he said.

"The national government has to ensure that these agencies are performing their mandate. It should be crafting and implementing effective plans so that every peso of people's money is spent wisely, goes to the benefit of the people, and is accounted for," he added.

The Philippines posts the biggest number of COVID-19 cases in Southeast Asia with over 150,000 infections.

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