DILG eyes private roads as alternative routes during rush hour

Aileen Cerrudo   •   July 23, 2019   •   600

The Department of the Interior of Local Government (DILG) is eyeing private roads as alternative routes during rush hour.

President Rodrigo Duterte mentioned the severe traffic problem especially in Metro Manila during his fourth state of the nation address (SONA).

He also ordered the DILG and Metropolitan Manila Development Authority (MMDA) to resolve the problem.

The DILG and MMDA will meet the 17 mayors in Metro Manila in response to the president’s directive.

According to DILG Secretary Eduardo Año, they will look into using subdivisions as alternative routes.

“Maraming subdivision na ayaw ipagamit iyong kalsada nila pero pwedeng secondary roads iyan, kahit during rush hours lang, titignan natin iyan, (There are a lot of subdivisions that do not want their roads to be used but they can be secondary roads even just during rush hour),” he said.

DILG will also look into traffic ordinance enforced in several cities in Metro Manila that are not anchored in MMDA’s policies.

Meanwhile the Department of Transportation (Dotr) and the Department of Public Works and Highways (DPWH) support Duterte’s directive to resolve the traffic problem.

However both departments said resolving right of way issues is a challenge. They said this is one of the primary reasons why several projects that aim to ease traffic have been delayed.

“We try to be fair to everyone but of course we have to look at the overall benefit. Of course we have to do our best to prioritize what will help the most number of people,” according to DPWH Secretary Mark Villar.—AAC (with reports from Joan Nano)

DILG backs bid to amend Human Security Act to fight terrorism

Robie de Guzman   •   August 21, 2019

DILG Secretary Eduardo Año

MANILA, Philippines – The Department of the Interior and Local Government (DILG) has expressed support for proposals to amend the Human Security Act of 2007, particularly the longer wiretapping and detention period in a bid to improve the government’s capacity to fight terrorism.

DILG Secretary Eduardo Año said terrorism is a coordinated crime mounted over time and can be countered through calculated strategies and intelligence efforts. He believes an extended wiretapping and detention period will advance the government’s anti-terrorism campaign.

“We are facing new and old terrorism challenges. To meet this challenge, our laws must adapt as well to the changing security environment,” he said in a statement released on Tuesday.

Año, a former intelligence chief and chief of staff of the Armed Forces of the Philippines, said that based on experience, countering terrorism is “massively different” from battling other crimes.

“Investigating terror groups or individuals can be tedious, hence, requires time and the proposed extension of wiretapping and detention period can definitely boost the government’s counterterrorism efforts,” he said.

Defense Secretary Delfin Lorenzana earlier recommended broadening the permissible wiretapping and detention period at a joint public hearing of the Senate committees on national defense and security and on finance.

The Human Security Act’s current provisions stipulate a 30-day approved wiretapping period that can be extended or renewed by the authorizing Court of Appeals and shall not exceed 30 days from the expiration of the original period.

Lorenzana is looking to extend this period to 90 days, as well as increase the detention period of suspected terrorists under a warrantless arrest from 36 hours to up to 60 days.

Año said there are already safeguards in the law that address the concern that it may be abused by law enforcers. 

“The HSA is in place to ensure that no abuse will take place. At natitiyak ko na kung mangyayari ang pagbabago sa nasabing batas, mas paiigtingin pa ang pagsiguro na hindi ito maaabuso,” he said.

The DILG chief added that according to Section 7 of the Human Security, only upon a written order from the Court of Appeals can law enforcers perform wiretapping operations.

Section 18 of the same law also states that any police or law enforcer authorized in writing by the Anti-Terrorism Council and has taken custody of a suspected terrorist must deliver the said person to the proper judicial authority within three days since his arrest.

“The current administration will not allow abuse in the HSA to happen. Sa kasalukuyang porma ng HSA, may mga safety nets na pinaiiral. With the proposed amendments, respect for human rights is ensured,”Año said.

The DILG is part of the Security, Justice and Peace Cluster of the Duterte administration spearheading the modification of the Human Security Law.

DILG stands by proposal to revive Anti-Subversion Law to end communism in PH

Robie de Guzman   •   August 16, 2019

MANILA, Philippines – The Department of the Interior and Local Government (DILG) is standing by its proposal to revive the Anti-Subversion Law to finally put an end to the communist struggle in the country.

DILG Secretary Eduardo Año said the need to reimpose the law is “urgent, critical and inevitable,” if the people truly want to end this scourge of society.

Año stressed that the Communist Party of the Philippines (CPP), its armed wing, the New People’s Army (NPA) and its front organizations have been “for the past 50 years in an organized armed conspiracy to overthrow the duly-elected government not only by force or violence but also by deceit, propaganda, and other illegal means.”

The DILG chief said that it’s about time that we put an end to this conflict that has been bringing our nation down and has killed some 100,000 policemen, soldiers, government officials, and innocent civilians. 

“We wish to emphasize that our proposal to revive the Anti-Subversion Law is only for members of the CPP-NPA-NDF and all groups directly supporting it. It only covers the Communists who are actively working to overthrow the government through armed struggle and does not, in any way, cover legitimate dissent, political opposition, or similar groups,” he said in a statement on Thursday.

The Anti-Subversion Act or Republic Act (RA) No. 1700 was passed in June 1957 during the presidency of Carlos P. Garcia. It declared the CPP illegal as an organized conspiracy to overthrow the government for the purpose of establishing in the Philippines a totalitarian regime.

During the martial law period, RA 1700 was expanded through Presidential Decree (PD) 885 in 1976 and PD 1835 in 1981. These decrees made it a subversive criminal act to be affiliated with a group and attend a meeting or take part in any activity meant to overthrow the government with the open or covert assistance and support of a foreign power.

During the time of President Corazon Aquino, she issued Executive Order No. 167, series of 1987 repealing PDs 1835 and 1975 and reviving RA 1700. And in 1992, President Fidel Ramos signed RA 7636 repealing RA 1700. Subversion is no longer a criminal offense, but sedition remained a crime.

According to Año, the decision to repeal the law may have been a mistake because “the Communist movement gained momentum in many areas and it grew bolder with the support of legal front organizations in urban areas from where they derive logistics, funding, source of cadres, and other forms of support.”

“The repeal of the Anti-Subversion law was a demand of the CCP-NPA-NPF for the conduct of the peace talks in the 1990s. In good faith, the government acceded to those demands for the sake of peace. But instead of laying down their arms and joining mainstream society, the Communists grew bolder and used the democratic space accorded to them to regroup, organize, and mobilize,” he said.

The DILG Chief said that since the repeal of the Anti-Subversion Law, the Communists have continuously rejected the government’s call for genuine peace for the past 50 years and have instead indiscriminately sowed terrorism across the country.

He said the CPP’s Constitution – which is available on the internet — categorically states that its goal is to overthrow our democratic, republican system using the weapons of “revolutionary armed struggle and the national united front.” 

Its program declares that this is to be done by building guerrilla fronts “to encircle the cities from the countryside… until it becomes possible to seize power in the cities.”

“It can’t be denied by anyone that the continued existence and illegal activities of the CPP-NPA-NDF constitute a clear, present, and grave danger to the security of the Philippine state,” Año said.

“If we revive the Anti-Subversion law, we will be able to dismantle the urban mass movement in the cities that fuels the armed struggle in the mountains. We will be able to stifle their so-called ‘legal front organizations’ that provides sustenance to the underground mass organizations. It will be the beginning of an inevitable end,” he added.

The DILG chief cited the continuous active recruitment of some 500 to 1,000 youth annually by legal Communist front organizations in schools and universities where some 50 to 100 of them become armed members of the New People’s Army.

Año said that all organizations providing support to the CPP-NPA-NDF must also be declared illegal and mere membership to these organizations should be a criminal act.

“Our present laws, the Revised Penal Code, and special penal laws only penalize the individual acts of communist terrorist groups while the revival of the Anti-Subversion Law would declare illegal the mere recruitment or membership to these illegal organizations. The Human Security Act is also deficient,” he said.

Año assured the DILG is ready to work with Congress “to craft such legislation that responds to the need of the times and places the necessary safeguards to ensure our constitutionally-guaranteed freedoms of association and free speech.”

Malacañang earlier said the proposed restoration of the Anti-Subversion Law needs more study while the Department of Justice believes amending and strengthening the country’s anti-terrorism law will suffice instead of criminalizing subversion again.

DILG warns of charges against cops accepting gifts

Robie de Guzman   •   August 13, 2019

MANILA, Philippines – The Department of the Interior and Local Government (DILG) on Tuesday threatened to file charges against police officers who will accept or solicit gifts from the public in relation to their official duties.

“As a matter of policy, employees under the DILG, including police officers, will be held criminally and administratively liable if they receive or solicit gifts of monetary value from people they serve or transact with in relation to their official functions,” DILG Secretary Eduardo Año said in a statement.

Año said such policy is stated in the National Police Commission Memorandum Circular 2016-002 which penalizes the act of soliciting or accepting directly or indirectly any gift of monetary value or the act of receiving for personal use of a fee, gift or other valuable thing in the course of official duties in expectation of receiving a favor or better treatment.

The DILG chief made the statement after President Rodrigo Duterte made a remark last week saying there is nothing wrong with receiving rewards if it was done out of gratitude and generosity.

Año acknowledged the president’s remark as stated in Republic Act 3019 or the Anti-Graft and Corrupt Practices act, but he emphasized that these gifts are only acceptable if these are small or of insignificant value or given as a mere ordinary token of gratitude or friendship.

“Our laws are not unmindful of the Filipino culture of showing their appreciation towards those who help us, including public servants. It is in this context that the President’s statement must be appreciated as explained by the Chief Presidential Legal Counsel,” he said.

The DILG chief said that although an exception is provided for in the law, he still reminded police officers and other government workers that their “services are already fully paid by the people through their taxes.”

“Therefore, gifts received in exchange for favors or as a form of bribe is in direct violation of your oath of service and is a violation of the law,” he said.

He added that it has been the practice of his office to send back to the sender or refuse gifts from local government officials or other functionaries.

Año also assured that the DILG will be relentless in its pursuit to build a corruption-free police organization that is “worthy of the trust and confidence of the Filipino people.”

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