Former Vice President Jejomar Binay on Friday urged the national government to provide food and other basic needs to residents of fourth and fifth-class municipalities to be placed under granular lockdown.
Such assistance from the national government, according to Binay, should be received by residents on time.
“This government is notorious for delays in releasing aid to LGUs (local government units). I hope this will not happen during the granular lockdowns,” he said in a statement.
The lockdowns in the provinces “should not add to the hardships of our fellow Filipinos already suffering from the economic effects of the pandemic,” added Binay, who is running for senator in the May 2022 elections.
The former VP welcomed the Department of Interior and Local Government (DILG) saying it is open to a deferment of the alert level system outside Metro Manila as requested by the League of Provinces.
Under the alert level system, local governments have the authority to place certain areas under granular lockdown. Residents in these locked-down areas are provided food and necessities.
“The reality is that not all local governments have the resources to implement granular lockdowns,” Binay said, adding that fourth class and fifth class municipalities outside Metro Manila are “barely able to provide basic services even before the pandemic.”
“Telling them to take care of food and other basic needs of their constituents in areas to be placed under granular lockdown is an imposition they may not be able to carry,” he said.
Binay said the national government should have closely studied the capabilities and fiscal situation of provincial LGUs before imposing the alert level system.
“Some government officials claim there was a consultation, but it seems not everyone was consulted,” he said.
The national government has expanded the coverage of the alert level system outside Metro Manila to include fourteen provinces and five cities. The alert system in these areas took effect last Oct. 20.