MANILA, Philippines — The Department of the Interior and Local Government will be investigating reports of aggressive barangay enforcers blocking food delivery riders working during curfew hours, it disclosed Thursday.
This comes after reports came out over Holy Week of food delivery-related incidents involving overzealous enforcers seemingly unaware of the very rules they were deployed to implement.
"Yes, we are [investigating] and we continue to reiterate to all LGUs the need to let food deliveries pass through checkpoints," DILG spokesperson Jonathan Malaya told Philstar.com in a text message.
"We have exerted every effort to cascade to the PNP and to force multipliers like barangay tanods the [Enhanced Community Quarantine] protocols as well as the instruction that food delivery should be allowed entry because these are essential items. Every day, we make that announcement."
Among recent incidents involve a Grab rider who was blocked by a tanod who claimed that lugaw is not considered an essential item and is therefore prohibited, and another saw a 21-year-old student arrested for stepping outside to pick up his dinner.
Malacañang has since clarified that all food deliveries are allowed and must remain unhampered.
Even the Philippine National Police, an attached bureau under the DILG, asserted in a statement of its own that "unless for any other reason in violation of law, the delivery of food to a requesting party on quarantine at their residence is essential."
Asked what sort of action the department would be taken against erring officials, Malaya said that DILG Undersecretary for Barangay Affairs Martin Diño will be "looking into the matter and will make recommendations on the proper action."
To recall, Diño gained notoriety earlier in the pandemic after he suggested launching a "shame campaign" on quarantine violators. He later falsely claimed that he was misquoted.
"In the meantime, we have reiterated our announcement to them. They are under the barangays and the LGUs so the punong barangays must reiterate the protocols as well to them," Malaya said.
"We wish to reiterate that since food is essential, and lugaw is food, then lugaw is essential. All types of food delivery should be allowed entry or passage by all checkpoints especially by barangays who are under their respective punong barangays and the LGUs."
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