MANILA, Philippines – The Department of the Interior and Local Government (DILG) on Tuesday said it has ordered the Philippine National Police (PNP) to intensify the manhunt for Benito Tiamzon and his wife, Wilma who are allegedly high ranking officials of the Communist Party of the Philippines-New People’s Army-National Democratic Front (CPP-NPA-NDF).
DILG Secretary Eduardo Año issued the directive several days after the Quezon City Regional Trial Court Branch 216 sentenced the Tiamzon couple to up to 40 years of imprisonment for kidnapping and serious illegal detention charges.
The Tiamzons were also ordered to pay damages and civil indemnity to the complainant amounting to P225,000.
The cases stemmed from the abduction of Army Lt. Abraham Claro Casis with three other soldiers in Candelaria, Quezon Province. The group was allegedly held captive by members of the New People’s Army for 75 days.
“I have instructed the PNP to intensify the manhunt for these communist terrorists so that they can serve the sentence imposed on them by the court,” Año said in a statement.
“The decision of the Regional Trial Court is a great victory for the Filipino people because of their crimes against humanity. As top leaders of the Communist Party and its armed wing, New People’s Army, they kidnapped, killed, and tortured so many people and burned so many equipment,” he added.
The DILG chief believes that the Tiamzons are still in the country based on intelligence reports.
“I exerted a lot of effort in capturing them in 2014. I was then chief of ISAFP (Intelligence Service of the Armed Forces of the Philippines) when they were arrested in March 2014. I spent almost half of my career looking for this couple,” Año said.
The Tiamzon couple was first arrested by government operatives in Barangay Zaragoza, Cebu City in March 2014 after many years of hiding.
But they were released from detention in 2016 to participate as consultants in the peace negotiations between the NDF and the government in Oslo, Norway.
They were ordered re-arrested in August 2018 after the peace talks were subsequently canceled. Both have since failed to appear in court.
“They cannot run and hide forever. Sooner or later, matitimbog din sila ulit at haharapin ang mga kasalanan nila sa ating bayan. I am confident that we will see them behind bars soon,” Año said.
According to the DILG, the couple is also facing multiple murder charges over the Inopacan Massacre where a mass grave was unearthed by soldiers in 2006. The said site was purportedly where suspected military informants within the Communist terrorist groups (CTG) were purged.
CPP founder Jose Maria ‘Joma’ Sison is also a co-accused in the case.
MANILA, Philippines – The Department of the Interior and Local Government (DILG) has urged local government units (LGU) to prepare a local vaccination plan that contains the preparation of risk communication plans and conduct of early vaccine communication campaign to disseminate critical information on COVID-19 vaccination program.
In a statement issued on Thursday, DILG spokesperson, Undersecretary Jonathan Malaya said LGUs should craft the vaccination plan as provided in Department of Health’s (DOH) guidelines on the national vaccination program, and to prepare this in coordination with their respective DOH-Centers for Health Development.
They must also coordinate with the Philippine National Police and the Bureau of Fire Prevention for logistical assistance.
The said plan must also include “a master list of priority eligible vaccinee 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,” according to Malaya.
“This COVID-19 vaccination will be the biggest of such program sa ating kasaysayan kaya ating hinihikayat ang mga LGU na ihanda na ang kanilang mga vaccination plan for we need this to be as smooth as possible sapagkat buhay ng ating mga mamamayan ang nakasalalay dito,” he said.
LGUs seeking authorization for emergency use for the purchase of the COVID-19 vaccine must also coordinate with their provincial governments to ensure that there is enough vaccine supply for everyone, according to said.
In a recent advisory, the DILG directed the provincial governments to consolidate all purchase requests of their component LGUs and submit these to their respective Regional Task Forces for submission to DOH and the NTF Vaccine Cluster.
“Katulad po ng amin nang nabanggit, napakahalaga po na makiisa ang mga LGU sa tripartite approach sa pagbili nila ng mga bakuna,” Malaya said.
LGUs are also advised to procure not more than 50 percent of their vaccine requirement due to the current limited supply of vaccines worldwide, the DILG said.
Vaccine czar Carlito Galvez Jr. earlier said that the first batch of COVID-19 vaccine doses is expected to be delivered by February.
Once they arrive, the vaccines will be stored in government and third-party warehouses before their deployment to local health offices and hospitals.
MANILA, Philippines – The Department of the Interior and Local Government (DILG) on Friday said it has granted a one-week extension on the deadline for the road clearing operations following requests by local government units (LGU) to give them more time to clear roads of obstructions.
The DILG said that instead of January 15, LGUs have been given until January 22 to complete their road clearing efforts.
“We extended the deadline for road clearing operations 2.0 because these are extraordinary times; we are in a pandemic and LGUs have a lot on their plate. We understand the request so the Department granted it,” DILG spokesperson Undersecretary Jonathan Malaya said in a statement.
The DILG announced in November last year the resumption of nationwide road clearing operations, giving the LGUs 60 days to comply with President Rodrigo Duterte’s directive to rid streets of illegal obstructions.
“This is, in a way, a little help to the LGUs so that they have more time to comply with the President’s directive,” Malaya said.
The validation period will be on January 25 to February 5, 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.
Malaya said that prior to the start of the validation period, the DILG will create validation teams in coordination with the Philippine National Police (PNP) and the Bureau of Fire Protection (BFP), for each province, city and municipality.
“This time around mayroon tayong validation teams na established at cross-posted, meaning, kung taga-Quezon City sila hindi sila puwede mag-validate sa QC, dapat nasa Taguig City sila o alin mang ibang lungsod,” he 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 said.
MANILA, Philippines – Joint operations conducted by the Philippine National Police (PNP) and the Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) yielded the recovery of an alleged New People’s Army (NPA) weapons cache in northern Palawan.
In a statement on Tuesday, PNP chief Police General Debold Sinas said troops from the PNP-Special Action Force’s (SAF) 101st Special Action Company, Police Regional Office 4B (PRO4B) and the military recovered high-powered firearms and war materials in the area of Sitio Lanka, Barangay Bintuan in Coron, Palawan around 4 a.m. on Saturday, January 9.
Among those seized were two M-16 assault rifles, four rifle grenades, magazine assemblies, a bandolier and 184 rounds of M-16 ammunition.
Sinas said the operation stemmed from actionable intelligence gathered by government troops regarding the whereabouts of the NPA’s cache of firearms and war materials in the said area.
“The continuous operations of our troops have resulted to the NPA’s weakened state. The latest confiscation of this cache of high-powered firearms further incapacitates their key operatives,” Sinas said.
The PNP chief also commended the SAF in its successive efforts implementing the President Rodrigo Duterte’s Executive Order No. 70, which aims to end local communist armed conflict.
The rifles will be subjected to procedural ballistics examination to determine if these had been used in previous crime incidents, the PNP said.
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