A RESURGENCE of Covid-19 cases in Bacolod and Negros Island. In fact, according to DOH and a private Covid watch group Octa, Region 6 is fast turning into a new epicenter of Covid spikes in the country, replacing NCR plus.
True or not, this is something to be closely watched in the coming weeks, especially with the momentum of vaccination campaign of the Bacolod City government.
In general, I appreciate the Bacolod City government sensical response to the reported spikes - keep the city under MGCQ to keep a wider breathing spell for local economy to sustain the slow albeit steady recovery while strengthening and deepening the enforcement of anti-Covid measures.
The city leaders are increasingly sensitive to the agonies of the general public and the business sector caused by the pandemic and been trying to burn eyebrows and risk lungs what and how to alleviate their bad economic conditions, beyond vaccination program.
Informal and unofficial talks between the business sector and city officials have already floated suggestions to ease tax burden, business permits, building and space rentals, and possibly some capital infusion to keep their businesses breathing till things get "normalized" again.
A manifesto said to have been signed by a number of local chief executives outside Bacolod endorsing for Albee to run for mayoralty post in Bacolod is reportedly ready for circulation.
True or not this is an act of politicking, or abuse of their position and powers to give undue advantage to their fellow, which is prohibited by the Code of Ethics of Civil Service Commission (CSC) and the Local Government Code.
Of course, anybody can campaign for anyone to any elective seat anywhere. It is the right of all natural citizens of this country.
But there are parameters and restrictions for local chief executives especially when it comes to electoral politics.
The Local Government Code of 1991 (LGC 1991), Chapter III, Article III, Sec. 29 clearly states that “Highly Urbanized Cities (HUCs) and independent component cities (ICCs) shall be independent of the province”.
It means duly elected local chief executives outside of a HUC or ICC, can’t interfere, much less impose or maneuver to impose their will, in the affairs of the latter.
Atty Baribar, the guru of Local Government law in Bacolod, has stressed repeatedly that the officials under the provincial government have no business whatsoever in influencing or imposing of sorts their whims and caprices in the city, which is independent of the province.
The manifesto, or whatever it is, is no less an act that bastardizes the established separation of the province and the HUC and ICCs.
I am sad that DILG provincial office has been temporarily shut down due to Covid cases among some of its personnel.
Colleague and kababayan DILG Provincial Director Roselyn Quintana had told me that she did not expect the incident to hit the office which is now in the thick of so many tasks and concerns for the LGUs.
I hope and let us pray that these our frontline governance enforcers would remain Covid free, otherwise it would affect much of its momentum in enforcing lots of national memoranda and instructions. But this means, extra efforts to be defensive and proactive in combatting Covid among all local DILG officers and personnel.