Deadline for LGU road clearing ops extended anew – DILG

Robie de Guzman   •   January 25, 2021   •   323

MANILA, Philippines – The Department of the Interior and Local Government (DILG) on Monday announced that the deadline for the road clearing operations of the local government units (LGU) has been extended anew.

In a statement, the DILG said the deadline for the road clearing efforts has been extended to February 15 to give LGUs ample time to prepare their local COVID-19 vaccination plans.

The DILG initially set the deadline on January 15 then extended it to January 22.

The department, with President Rodrigo Duterte’s directive to rid streets of illegal obstructions, announced in November last year the resumption of nationwide road clearing operations, giving the LGUs 60 days to comply.

It recently tasked LGUs to come up with a local vaccination plan that contains the preparation of risk communication plans and conduct of early vaccine communication campaigns to disseminate critical information on COVID-19 vaccination.

The plan must also include a master list of priority eligible vaccine population; identification of possible vaccine centers, available cold chain storages, and other logistical requirements; and a master list of existing human resources and personnel needed in the vaccination program, among others.

“The Department is fully cognizant of the urgency for LGUs to prepare their vaccination plans against COVID-19 that’s why the road clearing timeline is extended anew. This is, however, the last extension to be granted by the DILG,” DILG Undersecretary Jonathan Malaya said.

“We need to give LGUs time to focus on their local vaccination plans so we are giving them more time to undertake their road-clearing operations,” he added.

DILG Secretary Eduardo Año previously said that the road clearing operations now are different due to the coronavirus pandemic.

He said full implementation of the road clearing operations is enforced in areas under modified general community quarantine. Partial implementation is executed in areas under general community quarantine while road clearing operations in areas under modified enhanced community quarantine and enhanced community quarantine are suspended.

With the extension of the deadline, the DILG said the validation period of LGUs compliance has also been moved to February 16 until March 2, 2021.

“The deadline of the submission of all consolidated validation reports from the DILG regional offices will be one week after the end of the validation period or on March 9, 2021. We will not allow any modification in the report after submission,” Malaya said.

Among the validation requisites are the actual removal of road obstructions; enactment of an enabling ordinance; conduct of an inventory of road obstructions; crafting and implementation of a displacement plan; rehabilitation of cleared roads; creation of a grievance mechanism; as well as the Tricycle Route Plan, the DILG earlier said.

To ensure close coordination on the submission of reports, Malaya said DILG regional offices must designate one road clearing focal person whose names should be submitted to the DILG Central Office by February 2, 2021.

DILG Regional Offices are also given until February 9 to submit to the DILG Central Office a directory of the members of all their validation teams for each province, city, and municipality within their region.

LGUs are also enjoined to submit to validation teams as attachments to the reports, photographs, videos, presentations, reports, and other means of verifications (MOVs) that support their compliance.

“Inaasahan po ng DILG ang full cooperation ng LGUs para sa maayos na validation process. Within the validation period, LGUs shall submit reports detailing their compliance to the components of road clearing to the Validation Team. Strictly no report, no score,” Malaya said.

LGUs failing to enforce mass gathering restrictions to face raps — DILG

Robie de Guzman   •   May 10, 2021

MANILA, Philippines — The Department of the Interior and Local Government (DILG) warned to file raps against local government units (LGU) that will fail to strictly enforce prohibition or limitation on mass gatherings under community quarantine classifications being enforced in the country.

The DILG issued the statement following President Rodrigo Duterte’s directive to strictly enforce the face mask policy and other health protocols to curb the transmission of COVID-19.

“Local government units have a critical role in enforcing mass gathering regulations as they are nearer to their constituencies compared to the national government,” DILG Secretary Eduardo Año said in a statement on Sunday.

“What local chief executives (LCE) can do is to adopt and implement guidelines and policies of the Inter-Agency Task Force (IATF) as well as enact necessary local policies to support these regulations,” he added.

In line with the President’s directive to the DILG, Año issued DILG Memorandum Circular (MC) No. 2021-050 reminding all LCEs that they will be sanctioned if found violating any of the prohibitions contained under the IATF Omnibus Guidelines on the Implementation of Community Quarantine in the Philippines with Amendments as of April 15, 2021, which provides for the prohibitions and limitations on public and mass gatherings.

Any violation of the prohibitions in the Omnibus Guidelines shall constitute non-cooperation of the person or entities which is punishable under Section 9 paragraph (d) or (e) of Republic Act No. 11332 and its Implementing Rules and Regulations (IRR).

Failure on the part of local officials to enforce IATF resolutions may lead to charges filed against them for dereliction of duty based on Article 208 of the Revised Penal Code. Administrative sanctions may likewise be imposed on them under the Local Government Code.

“Maaaring administrative complaint or criminal case ang isampa laban sa pabayang LCEs. Hindi po gusto ng DILG na dumating sa puntong gawin ito kaya sana ipatupad nang maayos ng LGUs ang polisiya sa mass gatherings ayon sa quarantine classification sa kanilang lugar,” Año said.

The DILG chief also reminded all LGUs to exercise their power of supervision over their component LGUs.

“The LGU through its Sanggunian, at the instance of a concerned LCE, may hear any complaint for violation, misconduct, and/or dereliction of duty of lower LGU officials and impose sanctions as may be allowed by existing laws against an erring official,” he said.

Año has also directed the Philippine National Police (PNP) to strictly enforce all applicable guidelines and policies of the IATF especially on the prohibition on mass gatherings.

“The PNP should assist LGUs in the enforcement of all policies, laws both national and local, relative to the curtailment of the spread of COVID-19,” he said.

Citizens may also file complaints to their local DILG Regional Offices regarding the failure of their LGUs to implement mass gathering regulations by emailing or calling the nearest DILG Regional Office or field office or the DILG Emergency Operations Center (EOC) at dilgeoc.complaint@gmail.com and telephone number (02) 8876-3454 local 881 to 884.

“Don’t hesitate to lodge your complaints through your local DILG ROs so that appropriate actions may be taken upon verification,” the DILG said.

Under the IATF Omnibus Guidelines as of April 15, 2021, gatherings outside residences and gatherings at residences are prohibited in areas under Enhanced Community Quarantine (ECQ), Modified Enhanced Community Quarantine (MECQ), and General Community Quarantine (GCQ), but allowed up to 50% of seating or venue capacity for areas under Modified General Community Quarantine (MGCQ).

Gatherings for the provision of government services and authorized humanitarian activities are allowed in all areas under ECQ, MECQ, GCQ, and MGCQ.

Meanwhile, religious gatherings under ECQ are prohibited but religious services may be conducted through online video recording and transmission. Under MECQ, religious gatherings are allowed up to 10% but may be increased to 30% of seating capacity, subject to LGU regulations.

Under GCQ, it is allowed up to 30% but may be increased to 50% of seating capacity, subject to LGU regulations. In areas under MGCQ, it is allowed up to 50% of seating capacity, limited to religious worship or service and subject to LGU regulations.

Meanwhile, LGU-initiated gatherings in areas under ECQ, MECQ, and GCQ are limited to gatherings that are essential for the provision of health or government services or humanitarian activities and are subject to prior authorization from the appropriate government agency or instrumentality.

In areas under MGCQ it is allowed for any activity up to 50% of seating or venue capacity in compliance with ventilation standards set by the DOLE. – RRD (with details from Correspondent Rosalie Coz)

DOJ, DILG crafting guidelines for Duterte order to detain people improperly wearing face masks

Robie de Guzman   •   May 6, 2021

MANILA, Philippines – The Department of Justice (DOJ) and the Department of the Interior and Local Government (DILG) are crafting guidelines for the latest order of President Rodrigo Duterte to detain those who are improperly wearing face masks in public, Justice Secretary Menardo Guevarra said Thursday.

In a message to reporters, Guevarra said the guidelines will include details on the booking and detention processes, as well as the investigation and the filing of charges against those who will be apprehended.

The DOJ chief, however, stressed that Duterte’s order takes effect immediately even if the guidelines are still being formulated.

“The President’s directive takes effect immediately even without the guidelines. Existing laws and ordinances define the prohibited acts and impose the corresponding penalties therefore, and the relevant rules of court govern the procedure,” Guevarra said.

He also advised the public to wear face masks properly and to follow the law to avoid being detained.

“The best way to avoid being arrested while the guidelines are being formulated is to wear a face mask and obey the law,” he said.

On Wednesday, Duterte ordered the Philippine National Police to impose a stricter mask mandate to stem the spread of COVID-19 that mostly affected urban centers.

DILG to discuss with LGUs, PNP parameters of Duterte’s new order to arrest mask violators

Marje Pelayo   •   May 6, 2021

MANILA, Philippines – President Rodrigo Duterte on Wednesday (May 5) ordered the Philippine National Police (PNP) to arrest people who are not wearing their face mask properly in public.

President Duterte made the order during his pre-recorded address after noting that some people mindlessly don a face mask just so they can comply with the protocol.

“Itong mask, ‘yung iba, for compliance lang. Naglalagay ng mask pero nakalabas ‘yung ilong. I-detain mo tapos imbestigahan mo siya kung bakit ganoon ang behavior,“ he told the PNP adding that he has to be strict to curb COVID-19 transmission.

“Kapag hindi ko higpitan, walang mangyayari. Iyan nga, for compliance lang kayo,” he added.

In an interview following Duterte’s announcement, DILG Undersecretary Jonathan Malaya said they still have to discuss the new directive with the PNP.

“I think the President was serious. We will have to sit down with the Philippine National Police [..] to determine the parameters of the presidential directive. And we have to reconcile this with the various ordinances that were issued by the LGUs,” Malaya noted.

“I must emphasize that what people are violating here are local ordinances that were issued by the local sanggunian. We will take a look on how we can implement this directive of the President,” he added.

As for the quarantine violations, Malaya stressed that the IATF resolution is implemented through ordinances passed by the local government units. The penalty for a specific violation would depend on each LGU.

“So we may have to talk with the LGUs and of course the Philippine National Police,” Malaya said.

Malaya emphasized that it is the responsibility of the local chief executives and barangay officials to implement all minimum health standards in their respective jurisdictions.

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