MANILA – Cabinet officials tasked to oversee the coronavirus response in select urban hubs and provinces will serve as a "big brother and sister" to local officials, the chief implementer of the country's pandemic response strategy said Thursday.
The government's inter-agency task force (IATF) on pandemic response approved on Wednesday giving Cabinet secretaries corresponding city and provincial assignments to "provide stronger support" to local government units with areas with high community transmission of the virus.
"Nakita natin na karamihan dito sa ating IATF members ay karamihan po may kaniya-kaniya silang gabay… 'Yung kanilang expertise ay puwede maipahayag sa ating mayors at puwede sila gumabay bilang big brother ng ating mayors," COVID-19 policy chief implementer Secretary Carlito Galvez Jr said during a Palace press briefing.
(We saw that many of our IATF members have their own system of guidance…Their expertise can be shared with our mayors and they can serve as a big brother.)
"Mas maganda po talagang mayroon closely nagsu-supervise," he added.
(It's better when someone is supervising closely.)
Cabinet officials were given assignments based on their hometowns or places of residence, Presidential Spokesperson Harry Roque said as he assured local officials that the move was meant only to provide support.
"Hindi po 'yan mensahe na may problema ang LGUs. Ito po ay mensahe na kung ano pa ang kinakailangan ng mga lokal na pamahalaan, narito po ang national government, narito po ang national IATF para tumulong," he said.
(That doesn't mean that LGUs have a problem. It was only meant to send a message that the national government and IATF are here to provide help.)
Cabinet officials were assigned in areas deemed to have high transmission of the virus namely parts of Metro Manila, and the provinces of Bulacan, Cavite, Laguna, and Rizal.
The officials are tasked to monitor health system performance, critical care capacity, and compliance to COVID-19 response protocols set by the national government in their respective assignments.
The assignment of Cabinet officials are as follows:
1. Quezon City- Health Secretary Francisco Duque III and Cabinet Secretary Karlo Nograles
2. Pasig City- Education Secretary Leonor Briones and Tourism Secretary Bernadette Romulo-Puyat
3. Pateros- MMDA Chairman Danilo Lim
4. Marikina City- Labor Secretary Silvestre Bello III and CHED Chairman Prospero De Vera III
5. Taguig City- Interior Secretary Eduardo Año, and Bases Conversion and Development Authority CEO Vince Dizon
6. Manila- Information and Communications Technology Secretary Gringo Honasan and Anti-Red Tape Authority Director-General Jeremiah Belgica
7. Mandaluyong City- Trade Secretary Ramon Lopez
8. Makati City- National Security Adviser Hermogenes Esperon Jr.
9. San Juan City- Acting Socioplanning Secretary Karl Chua
10. Muntinlupa City- Transportation Secretary Arthur Tugade
11. Parañaque City- Peace Process Adviser Carlito Galvez Jr.
12. Las Piñas City- Public Works Secretary Mark Villar
13. Pasay City- Presidential Spokesperson Harry Roque
14. Caloocan City- Agriculture Secretary William Dar
15. Malabon City- Labor Secretary Silvestre Bello II and CHED Chairman Prospero De Vera III
16. Navotas City- Budget Secretary Wendel Avisado
17. Valenzuela City- Science Secretary Fortunato Dela Peña