DILG files complaint vs Olongapo mayor for violating quarantine protocols

Robie de Guzman   •   June 24, 2020   •   1322

MANILA, Philippines – The Department of the Interior and Local Government (DILG) on Wednesday said it has filed a complaint against Olongapo City Mayor Rolen Paulino, Jr. before the Office of the Ombudsman for his alleged repeated violations of quarantine protocols being enforced by the Inter-Agency Task Force on the Management of Emerging Infectious Diseases (IATF-MEID).

In a statement, DILG spokesperson Undersecretary Jonathan Malaya said complaints for gross neglect of duty, grave misconduct, violation of Republic Act No. 11469 or the Bayanihan Act, violation of Republic Act No. 11332, and open disobedience under Article 231 of the Revised Penal Code were filed against Paulino.

Malaya said the DILG first issued a show cause order against Paulino in April for allegedly organizing a mass gathering for the distribution of Social Amelioration Cards that were used in the first tranche of the government’s Social Amelioration Program.

Under IATF guidelines, any form of mass gathering during community quarantine is prohibited.

“In that instance, we already admonished him and warned him to fully comply with IATF regulations, otherwise we may be compelled to charge him,” Malaya said.

The DILG official said that Paulino again violated IATF regulations when he issued Executive Order No. 54 on May 21, allowing backriding in motorcycles in his city.

This is contrast to the guidelines issued by the government’s task force against COVID-19 which prohibits the practice of riding pillion in motorcycle due to physical distancing measures.

While he subsequently issued EO No. 54-A on May 25, when his attention was called by the DILG, Malaya said Paulino did not revoke his earlier EO but simply suspended its implementation until such time that “it is consonant with the guidelines and regulations of the IATF-MEID, DOTr (Department of Transportation), LTFRB (Land Transportation Franchising and Regulatory Board), DILG, or any other pertinent government agency.”

“The EO issued by the Olongapo Mayor in May clearly runs counter to the directives of the national government that were earlier issued in March as well as the Bayanihan to Heal as One Act enacted on March 24,” Malaya said.

“We are dismayed because as the local chief executive of Olongapo, he should be the first to follow the guidelines issued by the national government,” he added.

“The Bayanihan Act passed in March mandates that all LGUs should act within the letter and spirit of all the rules, regulations, and directives issued by the national government and are implementing standards of community quarantine consistent with what the national government has laid down to address COVID-19. And yet he issued his own policies inconsistent with national policies,” Malaya further stated.

The DILG official said the matter involving Paulino is now in the hands of the Office of the Ombudsman following their lodging of complaint.

“Doon na po magpapaliwanag ang alkalde ng Olongapo,” Malaya said.

Paulino has yet to issue any statement on the issue.

Malaya also reminded all local chief executives to be consistent with national laws and rules not only to avoid future legal consequences but also to ensure full cooperation towards a unified, cohesive, and orderly whole of government response to defeat COVID-19.

DILG tells PNP to provide security for media members during 2022 polls

Robie de Guzman   •   January 13, 2022

MANILA, Philippines – The Department of the Interior and Local Government (DILG) has directed the Philippine National Police (PNP) to provide security for members of the media who may face threats or intimidation during the course of the 2022 elections.

In a statement, the DILG said the PNP should designate media security focal persons in each province and city nationwide to provide a mantle of protection for media workers.

DILG Undersecretary Jonathan Malaya said Secretary Eduardo Año has issued a memorandum to PNP chief Police General Dionardo Carlos regarding the matter.

This was in response to the request of Presidential Task Force of Media Security (PTFoMS) Executive Director Joel Sy Egco in anticipation of a possible increase in violent incidents involving media personnel during the election season.

“We are one with the PTFoMS in providing security and other protective measures for media workers. They deserve to be shielded from every form of harm that they might be exposed to in the line of duty particularly during elections,” Año said.

“The 4th Estate is an integral part of our democracy and government’s partner for a more peaceful, honest and orderly polls,” he added.

Based on the memorandum, the PNP is directed to designate a focal person for media security, who will be the first to receive information and respond to any threats leveled against a media worker.

The focal person shall also directly coordinate with assigned Special Agents of the PTFoMS and assist the Task Force in expediting the resolution of cases of violence against journalists.

Malaya said the DILG shares the concern of the PTFoMS on the welfare of media workers who face the threat of violence, especially during the election season.

He recalled the gruesome Maguindanao massacre in November 2009 that claimed the lives of 58 people, including 32 members of the media who were covering the filing of candidacy of a local politician.

“The infamous massacre in Ampatuan, Maguindanao in November 2009 is a constant reminder that media workers are mostly vulnerable a few months before, during and a few months after every elections,” Malaya said.

Mga barangay, pinagsusumite ng listahan ng mga residenteng bakunado at ‘di bakunado vs COVID-19 – DILG

Robie de Guzman   •   January 12, 2022

MANILA, Philippines – Inatasan ng Department of the Interior and Local Government (DILG) ang mga barangay na magsumite ng listahan ng mga residente na bakunado na at hindi pa bakunado laban sa COVID-19.

Sa isang panayam, sinabi ni DILG Undersecretary Jonathan Malaya na ang kautusan ay inilabas ni Secretary Eduardo Año sa layuning magkaroon ng imbentaryo ng mga barangay ng mga nabakunahan na at hindi pa bakunado sa gitna na rin ng tumataas na namang coronavirus infections.

Ito aniya ay kaugnay na rin ng direktiba ni Pangulong Rodrigo Duterte na higpitan ang paglabas ng mga hindi pa bakunado para maprotektahan sila laban sa coronavirus disease.

“Para po masigurado natin ang datos natin ng mga unvaccinated, nagpalabas po si Sec. Año ng memorandum circular para po magsagawa ng imbentaryo ang lahat ng mga barangay sa buong bansa para malaman ‘yung mga ‘di pa nagpapabakuna sa mga barangay in line of the pronouncement of the president,” ani Malaya.

Oras aniya na maihanda ang imbentaryo ay maaari nang simulan ang pagpapatupad ng restrictions sa galaw ng mga hindi pa bakunado, alinsunod sa ordinansa ng mga lokal na pamahalaan.

Sa Metro Manila, tatlong lungsod na lang ang hindi pa nakapagpapasa ng ordinansa na nagtatakda ng restrictions sa mga unvaccinated partikular na ang Pasig, Navotas at Makati.

“I would expect in the next few days ay lahat, all 17 LGUs in Metro Manila will have their own ordinance enforcing the president’s directive,” ani Malaya.

Inaasahan rin ng DILG na magpapasa ng kaparehong ordinansa ang mga lalawigan dahil naglabas na ng resolusyon ang League of the Provinces of the Philippines na humihikayat sa mga miyembro na gawin ito.

Obligado aniya ang mga barangay na masumite ng inventory ng mga ‘di pa bakunado kada buwan. (mula sa ulat ni Correspondent Rosalie Coz)

DILG orders BJMP to probe Caloocan City jail riot

Robie de Guzman   •   January 12, 2022

MANILA, Philippines – The Department of the Interior and Local Government has ordered the Bureau of Jail Management and Penology (BJMP) to conduct a high-level investigation into the riot that occurred inside the Caloocan City Jail that led to the death of six persons deprived of liberty (PDL) and injuries to 33 others.

In a statement, DILG undersecretary and spokesperson Jonathan Malaya said  Secretary Eduardo Año has directed BJMP Chief J/Dir. Allan Iral to form a special investigating team from BJMP National Headquarters to determine the causes and those responsible for the incident.

The investigating team should also determine if there were any violations of standard operating procedures, and recommend interventions to ensure that the incident does not happen again, he added.

“The DILG extends our sincerest condolences to the families of those who perished in this tragic incident. We assure the families of the PDLs and the public that we will pursue a thorough investigation as to why and how this incident happened,” he said.

Malaya said the BJMP National Headquarters has already deployed additional personnel to lessen the tension inside the jail, as well as hold a dialogue with the two warring groups that figured in the riot.

The facility remains under heightened alert status and PDL activities have been temporarily suspended. The movement of all PDLs has also been restricted and their cells have been padlocked.

“The BJMP has already done Operation Greyhound inside the city jail to flush out hidden improvised weapons and other contrabands,” Malaya said.

The testimonies of the jail officers on duty, as well as other witnesses together with the CCTV footage, will also be gathered to get to the bottom of the incident, he added.

In the meantime, the DILG is appealing to the Caloocan City Government to fast-track the donation of a land for a new city jail.

“The current jail is congested and overcapacity. We need to transfer to newer and better facilities for the benefit of our PDLs. We appeal to the Caloocan LGU to fast track the donation of the lot intended for the new Caloocan City Jail,” the department said.

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