DILG pledges support to Green Climate Fund projects

Aileen Cerrudo   •   November 19, 2019   •   283

The Department of the Interior and Local Government (DILG) has pledged its support to the country’s first Green Climate Fund (GCF) project.

According to the DILG, the GCF aims to establish multi-hazard impact-based forecasting and early warning system (MH-IBF-EWS) in the local government units (LGUs).

DILG Secretary Eduardo M. Año said this aims to translate hazard forecasts into warnings which will provide the location and specific impacts directly to the LGUs and communities on the ground.

“Climate change has been a global issue that we can’t just take for granted. We must acknowledge it and fortify our country with safety measures like the MH-IBF-EWS. As one of the most vulnerable countries that can fall victim to climate change, we should be proactive in developing counter-measures,” he said.

Año said areas including Tuguegarao City, Legazpi City, the town of Palo in Leyte, and New Bataan in Davao de Oro will be the target local government units (LGUs) of the GCF project.

The said project has been approved by the Green Climate Fund Board during its recent meeting in Songdo, Korea and is worth $10 million.—AAC

DILG tells LGUs public events may proceed but observe anti-COVID-19 measures

Robie de Guzman   •   February 18, 2020

MANILA, Philippines – Local government units (LGU) may still organize and hold public gatherings, meetings and festivals despite the threat of novel coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) as long as all precautionary measures against the virus are strictly observed, the Department of the Interior and Local Government (DILG) said.

In a statement, DILG Undersecretary and Spokesperson Jonathan Malaya said the implementation of the new policy follows the meeting last Friday of the Inter-Agency Task Force on Emerging Infectious Diseases, which include the Department of Health (DOH), and the Department of Tourism (DOT).

The DOH earlier urged the public to refrain from going to crowded places and other public gatherings in a bid to curb the spread of the deadly virus.

Following DOH’s advise, some local government units have cancelled their scheduled festivals and other public events for this month.

“While they may continue with public gatherings at their discretion, we wish to remind the general public to wash your hands regularly, and to seek medical attention if signs of cough, colds, sore throat and fever appear,” Malaya said.

He also said that LGUs should strictly implement the guidelines, which include monitoring all participants to public events with infrared thermometers, providing all their participants with hand sanitizers or 70% isopropyl alcohol, asking everyone to use surgical masks, and providing wastebaskets for the proper disposal of all types of wastes.

“If the LGU decides to push through with their public events, they should discourage those with cough, colds, sore throat and fever from attending and they should have medical personnel on standby for any eventuality. Moreover, they should closely coordinate with their DOH counterparts so that they are properly guided,” he added.

The DILG’s call comes at the heels of President Rodrigo Duterte’s appeal to Filipinos to visit local tourism sites to help boost the country’s tourism sector amid the threat of novel coronavirus.

Duterte earlier said he is planning to travel around the Philippines as he assures the public that it is safe to visit the country’s tourism spots.

“To my fellow Filipinos, I encourage you to travel with me around the Philippines. I assure you that everything is safe in our country, be it an issue of health, be it an issue of law and order, and be it an issue of accessibility,” he said.

DILG wants firearms for firefighters issued this year

Robie de Guzman   •   February 13, 2020

MANILA, Philippines – The Department of the Interior and Local Government (DILG) is looking to arm 29,286 firefighters of the Bureau of Fire Protection (BFP) this year in line with the government’s drive against illegal drugs, criminality, terrorism and violent extremism.

“Maintaining law and order is not an easy task. Despite the decreasing crime rate in the country, having the BFP’s firefighters in our peace and order campaign is a boost and welcome addition in ensuring a safe and secure country,” DILG Secretary Eduardo Año said in a statement issued Wednesday.

The DILG chief said firemen will be armed with 9MM pistols to strengthen the government’s law enforcement campaign, and also for self-defense purposes as fire victims, out of frustration, sometimes gang up on fire personnel during firefighting operations.

“May mga pagkakataon na sa kagustuhan ng mga tao na unahing isalba ang kanilang nasusunog na bahay, kinukuyog nila ang mga bombero at nagkakagulo. Nais din naman nating protektahan at sundin ng mga tao ang ating mga bombero habang ginagawa nila ang kanilang trabaho,” he added.

Año believes the move is “timely and critical,” and in line with President Rodrigo Duterte’s directive of engaging BFP’s help to maintain law and order and not to limit their roles to firefighting.

He also said that the BFP, along with the Philippine National Police and the Bureau of Jail Management and Penology, is permitted by law to assist government troops in times of national emergency if ordered by the president under the Republic Act 6975.

“The BFP also does law enforcement functions because they enforce the Fire Code so they already have some experience in this regard. The BFP can help ensure public safety, as a support to the PNP and AFP but of course, their primary responsibility is still preventing and suppressing fire and enforcement of the Fire Code,” he said.

Año revealed that the BFP has already requested funds from the Department of Budget and Management for the procurement of the firearms.

He also assured that firemen would undergo marksmanship and gun safety training before they will be issued their firearms.

“Hindi rin naman natin basta-basta aarmasan sila ng walang tamang training,” he said.

For his part, newly-appointed BFP Director Jose Segundo Embang said he welcomes the move to arm BFP personnel, adding that this is a necessary upgrade in terms of responsibilities and skills “to cope with the demands of the times.”

“Hindi na ito yong conditional firefighters na nakikita natin before. Ito na iyong mga modern heroes, kung makikita ninyo sa mga disasters. Hindi lang sa mga natural disasters but even during man-made disasters, kasi sila talaga ang first responders, sila ang cornerstone of emergency preparedness and response,” Embang said.

“Ngayon ay makakasama na kami sa pagpapanatili ng public safety,” he added.

PNP to arrest people behind fake news on coronavirus

Aileen Cerrudo   •   February 12, 2020

The Philippine National Police (PNP) will investigate and arrest people involved in spreading fake news about the novel coronavirus or COVID-19.

This is based on the directive of the Department of the Interior and Local Government (DILG) Secretary Eduardo Año.

According to Año, spreading of false information is harmful to the interest of the public.

“We need to put a stop to their nuisance activity. Let’s not propagate erroneous information that is more viral than the virus itself. We already have enough on our plate,” he said.

DILG Spokesperson Usec. Jonathan Malaya also urges the public to only trust official sources of information and to verify first before sharing.

He also added that the PNP’s Anti-Cybercrime Group (ACG) is currently verifying six suspected fake news posts about the coronavirus on social media.

“The PNP-ACG is working hard to detect the whereabouts of these law offenders. We expect arrests to be made soon,” Malaya said.

Based on Article 154 of the “Unlawful Use of Means of Publication and Unlawful Utterances” of the Revised Penal Code, perpetrators of fake news will face imprisonment of one to six months and a fine ranging from P40,000 to P200,000.—AAC 

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