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Governors want advance info on Covid-19 alert levels



A group of governors is urging the national pandemic task force to provide advance information on the Covid-19 alert levels that will be imposed on the provinces.
Marinduque Gov. Presbitero Velasco Jr., who is also president of the League of Provinces of the Philippines, noted in a televised briefing on Friday that local officials should be given more time to prepare before their areas shift into the experimental lockdown scheme.

“The league, on behalf of local government units in the provinces, is seeking a sufficient amount of time before the imposition of the alert level system so we explain to our constituents the Covid-19 protocols that will be implemented,” he said, speaking partly in Filipino.

Local officials, Velasco added, need to be promptly informed of the alert level that will be imposed in their areas so they can craft appropriate local executive orders and meet with law enforcers.

The group is also hoping that guidelines for the lockdown scheme could be published in newspapers to reach areas with poor internet and broadcast signal, he said.

“Those who will be affected need to be consulted. For example, they may suggest placing their area under alert level 3 instead of alert level 2. Perhaps others want to be placed under Level 1, depending on coronavirus transmission,” Velasco also said.

The local official lamented that select provinces which shifted into the novel lockdown system  were only informed a day before the scheme’s implementation

At least 19 provinces and cities were placed by the Inter-Agency Task Force on Emerging Infectious Diseases (IATF) under varying alert levels starting Wednesday until the end of the month. The rest of the country remains under the old quarantine system.

Velasco said the League of Provinces has written a letter of appeal addressed to the IATF to defer the expansion of the alert system towards the end of October.

The task force and Malacañang have yet to comment on the group’s request, but presidential spokesperson Secretary Harry Roque said in a press briefing Thursday that local governments were consulted prior to the imposition of alert levels.

First tested in Metro Manila, the five-degree alert level scheme determines the activities and business operations allowed in specific cities or provinces, with level 5 being the strictest.

The classifications depend on Covid-19 indicators, including two-week attack rates and health care utilization rates.