DILG Secretary Benjamin Abalos Jr. (NIB photo)

MANILA – The Department of the Interior and Local Government (DILG) on Friday rallied all local government units (LGUs) to be more vigilant and reinforce measures against coronavirus disease 2019 (Covid-19) to impede the projected increase in cases until the end of the year.

This came following the Department of Health’s (DOH) projection of over 10,600 daily Covid-19 cases by October in the National Capital Region (NCR).

DILG Secretary Benjamin Abalos Jr. said the DOH’s projection is a clear warning that all LGUs should take seriously.

He said LGUs must not relax their Covid-19 measures and stand guard on cases in their respective localities to mitigate the possibility of a surge in the coming months.

Kami po ay nananawagan sa ating LGUs na bantayang mabuti ang mga kaso ng Covid sa kanilang nasasakupan (We are calling on our LGUs to keep a close watch on Covid-19 cases in their areas). We are still in a pandemic and we count on our local officials to lead this war, especially in the coming months where alarming numbers of Covid-19 cases are projected,” Abalos said in a news release.

Marami tayong kababayan ang naghahanap-buhay sa Metro Manila. Ito ang economic center ng bansa, kaya dapat malakas ang depensa nito at mapigilan natin ang pagtaas ng kaso na maaaring kumalat sa ibang lugar sa bansa (We have many workers here in Metro Manila. This is the country's economic center so we should have a strong defense so that we will be able to curb the increase in cases which may also spread in other areas),” he added.

As of Aug. 11, NCR leads the regions in the country with the most number of Covid-19 cases registering 15,804 new cases in the last 14 days, followed by Calabarzon with 10,049; Central Luzon with 5,102; and, Western Visayas with 2,760.

The DOH attributed the projected number to the low administration of booster doses, low compliance with prescribed health and safety protocols, increase in human mobility, and fast transmission of Omicron subvariants.

“I urge all of you to support the government’s vaccination efforts such as PinasLakas. Vaccines have carried us through the murk of the pandemic. We are able to go back to our old ways because of them kaya sana ay makita ng ating mga kababayan ang malaking tulong na ito (so I hope that our kababayans will realize its benefit),” Abalos said.

PinasLakas is the DOH’s campaign that aims to immunize 23.8 million or at least 50 percent of the eligible population with the Covid-19 booster shot within the first 100 days of the Marcos administration.

The DILG Secretary also urged all LGUs in the country to ensure that they are not lenient in enforcing minimum public health standards (MPHS) and are proactive in their booster shots and vaccination drives.

“We cannot let our guards down. The projected number of cases in NCR is a clear sign for all LGUs in the country to step up their campaign because Covid-19 can again trickle to your own backyards. We must work collectively para matuldukan na ang pandemya ito (so that we can put an end to this pandemic),” Abalos said.

In his first State of the Nation (SONA), President Ferdinand "Bongbong" R. Marcos Jr. said imposing a lockdown under his administration is out of the question.

Hindi na natin kakayanin ang isa pang lockdown. Wala na tayong gagawing lockdown. Dapat nating balansehin nang maayos ang kalusugan at kapakanan ng ating mga mamamayan sa isang banda, at ang ekonomiya naman sa kabilang banda (We cannot afford another lockdown. We will not impose lockdowns anymore. We should delicately balance the health and welfare of the people, as well as our economy),” the President said. (PR)