89 Punong Barangays nationwide suspended over SAP Tranche 1 anomalies — DILG

Maris Federez   •   September 12, 2020   •   208

MANILA, Philippines — The Office of the Ombudsman (OMB) has placed some 89 Punong Barangays (village chiefs) across the country on a six-month preventive suspension following the filing of complaints by the Department of the Interior and Local Government (DILG) against them for anomalies and irregularities involving the implementation of the first tranche of the Social Amelioration Program (SAP).

A statement released on Saturday (Sept. 12) said DILG Secretary Eduardo M. Año has given out directives to the respective municipal/city mayors of these barangay heads “to immediately implement the order of the Office of the Ombudsman upon receipt while the DILG regional and field officers were directed to ensure the orderly implementation of the said mass suspension.”

Año thanked Ombudsman Samuel Martires for his immediate action on the complaints filed by the Department against the erring PBs.

The statement added that the suspension would serve as a stern warning to all local government units that the Department will not tolerate any wrong-doing on their part.

“Naway magsilbing babala ang suspensiyon na ito sa iba pang mga lokal na opisyales. Ang katiwalian ay walang puwang sa ating pamahalaan lalong-lalo pa ngayong panahon ng pandemya,” Año said.  

DILG cited the OMB Order dated September 2, 2020, which said that “the evidence on record shows that the guilt of these punong barangays is strong and the charges against them involve Serious Dishonesty, Grave Misconduct, Abuse of Authority and Conduct Prejudicial to the Best Interest of the Service which may warrant removal from the service.”

DILG Undersecretary and Spokesperson Jonathan Malaya said that the suspension of the 89 Punong Barangays is “the first such mass suspension in the history of the country.”

He added that such “is just the latest in a series of moves undertaken by the DILG to weed out corrupt officials in the implementation of the SAP.”

In relation to this, Malaya said that the PNP-CIDG has already filed criminal cases against 447 individuals for violations of RA 3019 (Anti-Graft and Corrupt Practices Act), RA 11469 (Bayanihan Act I), and RA 6713 (Code of Conduct of Government Officials and Employees), among others.

The DILG also reported that Region I, the National Capital Region, and Region II topped the list of with the most number of suspended PBs, while Cordillera Administrative Region and Caraga recorded the least number. Only Region XII has no suspended PBs among all regions. — /mbmf

No more deadline: Hiring of contact tracers to continue until target is reached – DILG

Robie de Guzman   •   September 24, 2020

MANILA, Philippines – The Department of the Interior and Local Government (DILG) on Thursday said it will do away with deadlines and instead continue to hire contact tracers until their target of at least 50,000 is reached.

In a statement, DILG spokesperson Undersecretary Jonathan Malaya said the agency’s provincial and city field offices will continue to accept applications until the slots allocated to them have been filled up.

The department earlier announced that the submission of applications for contact tracers is only until Sept. 23.

 “What’s important to us is to fill up the slots and recruit the most number of Contact Tracers as provided in the Bayanihan 2 law so those who meet the deadline will immediately be processed but we will continue to accept applications until we have met our targets,” he said.

Malaya said that some 10,000 individuals have already applied in Metro Manila but many have incomplete documents so they are giving more time for them to complete the requirements on a first come, first served basis.

“As soon as they are deemed qualified by the selection board, they will be hired, trained, and deployed to the various LGUs,” he added.

The DILG official said the first batch of DILG-hired contact tracers will be deployed to the local government units by first week of October.

The department earlier said that local and overseas Filipino workers whose service have been recently terminated or their employment contracts were not renewed amid the pandemic will be given priority in the hiring process.

 To qualify, the applicant must have a Bachelor’s degree or college level in an allied medical course or criminology course.

Aspirants must also be skilled in data gathering and have assisted in research and documentation; able to interview COVID-19 cases and close contacts in order to gather data; possess the ability to advocate public health education messages; and have investigative capability.
 
“While our first preference is college graduates or college level of allied medical courses or criminology, we are also open to graduates or college level of any course. So, we urge them to apply and help the country defeat COVID-19,” he said.
Malaya said applicants are required to submit an application letter, Personal Data Sheet, National Bureau of Investigation clearance, diploma or transcript of record, and drug test result to the nearest DILG provincial or city field office.

Contact tracers will earn a minimum of P18,784 per month in a contract of service status.

Their responsibilities include conducting interviews, profiling, and perform an initial public health risk assessment of COVID-19 cases and their identified close contacts; refer the close contacts to isolation facilities; conduct enhanced contact tracing in collaboration with other agencies and private sectors; conduct daily monitoring of close and general contacts for at least 14 days, and perform such other tasks in relation to the COVID response.

DILG orders CIDG to probe group behind ‘flatten the fear’ event

Robie de Guzman   •   September 23, 2020

MANILA, Philippines – The Department of the Interior and Local Government (DILG) has directed the Philippine National Police-Crime Investigation and Detection Group (PNP-CIDG) to look into the “flatten the fear” event allegedly held by a group seeking an end to all community quarantine restrictions in the country amid the coronavirus pandemic.

In a statement on Wednesday, DILG Secretary Eduardo Año ordered the CIDG to probe the group’s reported violation of prohibition on mass gathering, physical distancing and other minimum health protocols.

“Inutusan na po natin ang PNP-CIDG para masusing imbestigahan ang naturang mass gathering kung dapat ba silang managot sa kanilang paglabag sa mga alintuntunin sa panahon ng pandemya,” Año said.

“Maaaring gusto lamang ng grupong ito na makatulong sa pamahalaan para tuluyang masugpo ang pandemya, subalit ang kanilang idinaos na mass gathering at tahasang hindi pagsuot ng face mask ay lubhang delikado hindi lamang para sa kanila kundi pati na rin sa kani-kanilang mga pamilya,” he added.

Año said the investigation is upon the request of the Department of Health.

He said the members of the Concerned Doctors and Citizens of the Philippines recently held a mass gathering dubbed as Flatten the Fear campaign where many of its participants purposely did not wear face mask because according to them, they do not need to do so as they are already on prophylaxis and preventive treatment of COVID-19.

The DILG chief said that the group’s call to end all restrictions at this critical time sends a wrong message to the public and undermines months of hard work by health authorities to flatten the curve and defeat the coronavirus disease.

He added that the group should have discussed first with the Inter-Agency Task Force (IATF) its recommendations instead of holding a mass gathering as “this move undermines the work that has been done for many months by our frontliners.”

“We wish to remind them that we are not out of the woods yet and that community transmission is on-going. While we have been able to lower our cases, we cannot be complacent and let down our guard since an outbreak may suddenly occur as what we have seen in many countries all over the world,” he said.

“Kapag tuluyan nating tinanggal ang Community Quarantine na hindi pa natin lubos na napapababa ang mga kaso, maaaring magkaroon ng biglang pagdami ng kaso at magugulat na lang tayo sa biglang dami ng pasyente na ating aasikasuhin,” he added.

The Philippines has so far recorded a total of 291,789 COVID-19 infections, 56,097 of which are active cases.

DILG lauds police move for online reporting of quarantine violators

Robie de Guzman   •   September 14, 2020

MANILA, Philippines – The Department of the Interior and Local Government (DILG) on Monday commended the move of police Joint Task Force Coronavirus (JTF COVID) Shield to monitor and urge the public to report violations of quarantine protocols through its social media accounts.

In a statement, DILG Secretary Eduardo Año said the move “encourages citizen through social medial platforms” and “appeals to all civic-minded young people who are concerned about the health and welfare of all Filipinos.”

“Now that we have flattened the COVID-19 curve, all the more should we be more careful and vigilant so as to contain and further reduce the active cases. Habang hinihintay natin ang pagdating ng bakuna, mas lalo nating pag-ibayuhin ang pag-iingat and enforcement of minimum health standards,” Año said.

The PNP’s JTF COVID Shield earlier ordered all police stations and units to monitor social media platforms for possible quarantine violations.

JTF COVID Shield Commander Gen. Guillermo Eleazar also called on the public to tag the task force’s Facebook page when they see photos and reports online of quarantine violations.

Among the most common quarantine violations flaunted on social media are mass gathering and celebrations, drinking session, non-observance of physical distancing, non-wearing of face masks, and pillion riding on motorcycles of unauthorized individuals.

Some groups have claimed that the measure will violate the right to privacy of people but the DILG belied this, stressing that there is no violation when it is the individual himself that posted it online.

“We cannot afford protection to persons if they themselves did nothing to place the matter within the confines of their private zone,” DILG Undersecretary Jonathan Malaya said.

Citing the Supreme Court ruling in Vivares vs St Theresa’s College wherein some students who posted nearly nude photos on social media were not allowed to join their batch’s graduation ceremony, Malaya said that there is no violation of the right to privacy when it is the person himself who posted the material online.

“However, there is a big difference between spying or hacking the social media of persons to build a case against him or her as against using his/her social media posts as evidence when s/he has already committed a violation. May violation ka na nga, pinangalandakan mo pa sa social media,” he added.

Malaya advised netizens to be cautious, maintain their privacy, and to exercise sound discretion regarding how much personal information they are willing to show on their social media pages.

“Netizens ought to be aware that, by entering or uploading any kind of data or information online, they are automatically and inevitably making it permanently available online, the perpetuation of which is outside the ambit of their control,” he said.

“Since these are public posts, the PNP has every right to make social media posts as a basis to begin an investigation if warranted,” he added.

Malaya also emphasized hat unscrupulous and ill-intentioned hackers may infiltrate their pages and steal information that they might use in any way they want.

REACH US

The Philippine Broadcast Hub

UNTV, 915 Barangay Philam,

EDSA, Quezon City M.M. 1104

(+632) 8396-8688 (Tel)

info@untv-newsandrescue.com (General inquiries)

ABOUT UNTV

UNTV is a major TV broadcast network with 24-hour programming. An Ultra High Frequency station with strong brand content that appeal to everyone, UNTV is one of the most trusted and successful Philippine networks that guarantees wholesome and quality viewing experience.