Laoag mayor gets show cause order for alleged mass gathering

The Department of the Interior and Local Government (DILG) has issued a show cause order against Mayor Michael M. Keon of Laoag City after photos flooded social media of a Christmas gathering organized by the local chief executive.

DILG Undersecretary and spokesperson Jonathan Malaya said Secretary Eduardo M. Año has directed the issuance of a SCO against Keon for alleged violation of the prohibition against mass gathering and for violation of minimum health standards during a pandemic.

“We received reports that a Christmas party was organized by the mayor together with other government and barangay officials. Acting on these reports, the Secretary has directed the issuance of the SCO for the mayor to explain if he should be administratively liable for violating health protocols,” he said in a news release on Thursday.

Malaya said while the protocols are admittedly difficult, government officials must lead by example and therefore should be circumspect about calling for gatherings at this time.

“If the public sees that our government officials themselves are not following the protocols, our campaign loses credibility,” he said.

He said all Christmas parties in any government office, national or local, are prohibited and that the Department is glad that 99 percent of all LGUs have followed the directives of the Inter-Agency Task Force for the Management of Emerging Infectious Diseases (IATF-EID).

Christmas parties are considered non-essential activities under IATF regulations.

“We thank all LGUs that have canceled their annual Christmas parties because gatherings are sure ways of transmitting Covid-19. The threat of a second surge is there so we should not let our guard down,” he said.

He said that DILG will accord Keon due process and will act based on the answer of the mayor on the SCO issued against him.

“If we want to show our appreciation to people for a job well done, we can just send them gifts. No need to call for a mass gathering,” he added.

Source: Philippines News agency

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