DILG, PNP to arrest GCTA beneficiaries after 15-day surrender deadline – Año

Robie de Guzman   •   September 4, 2019   •   977

DILG Secretary Eduardo Año

MANILA, Philippines – The Department of the Interior and Local Government (DILG) on Wednesday said they will arrest the beneficiaries of the good conduct time allowance (GCTA) law who will not surrender to authorities within 15 days.

DILG Secretary Eduardo Año said police will track the movement of convicts released under the GCTA rule and bring them back to jail after the deadline.

“They are given 15 days to show up and submit for investigation to recompute the GCTA. After the deadline, the PNP will track and arrest those who will not surrender themselves to authorities,” Año said in a statement.

President Rodrigo Duterte earlier ordered convicts, especially those who were involved in heinous crimes that have been freed under Republic Act 10592, to surrender to the nearest police station or to the military.

“All of you, released under GCTA, you surrender or have yourself registered under BuCor (Bureau of Corrections),” he said on Wednesday.

The president added that he is considering a P1 million reward for the re-arrest of each heinous crime convict.

READ: Duterte orders freed heinous crime convicts to surrender

The Philippine National Police (PNP), for its part, said all police units across the country have been directed by PNP chief Police General Oscar Albayalde to immediately receive and account about 1,700 prisoners who will heed the president’s order to surrender.

“Likewise, tracker teams will now be deployed to locate these convicts, who will be treated as fugitives if they choose not to surrender,” the PNP Public Information Office (PIO) said in a statement.

“As fugitives from justice, these convicts can be subjected to warrantless arrest,” it added.

Since the law’s enactment in 2013, more than 22,000 persons deprived of liberty (PDL) have been released due to good conduct credits, 1,914 of which had been convicted of heinous crimes, based on BuCor data.

The implementation of the GCTA rule has been suspended until further notice.

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Duterte to meet with AFP, PNP commanders following Jolo incident

Robie de Guzman   •   July 2, 2020

MANILA, Philippines – President Rodrigo Duterte is set to fly to Mindanao to meet with top officials of the Philippine National Police (PNP) and the Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) in the wake of the killing of four soldiers by policemen in Jolo, Sulu last Monday, Interior Secretary Eduardo Año said Thursday.

Año, however, did not disclose the date and place of the president’s upcoming meeting with police and military commanders.

The Interior Secretary, who supervises the PNP, also said that Duterte may possibly talk to nine policemen involved in the shooting of soldiers.

“The president is going to the south to talk to our PNP and AFP commanders, sabi ko nga kung may time pa siya ay kakausapin niya yung mga suspek,” Año said.

Malacañang said the president was saddened by the incident between the police and military officers.

He has also ordered for the National Bureau of Investigation to expedite the release of its probe findings.

The Palace also denied that the incident is the result of the alleged state-sponsored extrajudicial killings under the Duterte administration as claimed by former Senator Antonio Trillanes IV.

“Hindi po natin kinukunsinte ang patayan kaya nga po masinsinang imbestigasyon ang ginagawa natin dito sa pagpatay sa 4 na sundalo sa hukbong sandatahan,” Presidential Spokesperson Harry Roque said.

Año echoed Roque’s statement as he assured that those responsible for the Jolo incident will be held accountable.

“Extrajudicial killing is not the policy of this government and the Sulu incident, we will exact justice and make sure those responsible shall be accountable, umasa kayo diyan. Ako mismo ang personal na nag-follow up ng kaso,” he said. – RRD (with details from Correspondent Rosalie Coz)

Pangilinan seeks Senate probe on fatal shooting of 4 soldiers in Jolo

Robie de Guzman   •   July 2, 2020

MANILA, Philippines – Senator Francis Pangilinan is calling for an inquiry into the killing of four soldiers by local policemen in Jolo, Sulu.

“Nakakabahala ang balitang ito. Ngayon pa lang na hindi pa batas ang anti-terror bill, may nangyayari nang ganito. Ano na lang ang laban ng ordinaryong tao?” Pangilinan said in a statement on Wednesday.

On Monday afternoon, June 29, four members of the Philippine Army were fatally shot by police officers some meters away from the Jolo police station.

The Army said the four soldiers were on an official mission and were tracking suspected suicide bombers  when they were accosted by the local police.

The soldiers, who had been wearing plain clothes, were said to have introduced themselves to the policemen. The cops allegedly told them to go with them to a nearby police station for identity verification.

Initial police report said that as their team and Army officers approached the police station, the soldiers’ vehicle allegedly sped off, prompting a car chase.

Police said they only defended themselves when the soldiers opened fire.

The Army disputed this claim, saying the soldiers did not try to escape and never fired a single shot towards police officers based on eye-witness accounts of two civilians and of a motorcycle-riding soldier who was part of the operation trailing the soldiers’ vehicle.

Pangilinan said the police and military have different versions of what happened, and an “independent and impartial” Senate probe will “help bring out the truth.”

“This incident is disturbing because it appears that the police are quick in pulling the trigger without careful judgment. If they can do this to their fellow uniformed men, how much more to the ordinary civilians who are unarmed and defenseless?” the senator said.

Nevertheless, Pangilinan called on military and police ground commanders to “rein in their men to preserve peace and avert escalation of tension between the armed personnel.”

“We should be going after the common enemy — terrorists, drug lords, armed groups, and in this time of the pandemic, COVID — not against each other,” Pangilinan said.

The Philippine National Police and the Armed Forces of the Philippines earlier said they have requested the National Bureau of Investigation to conduct an impartial probe into the incident.

The nine policemen involved in the incident, as well as the chief of Jolo police station have also been ordered relieved from their posts pending investigation.

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DILG tells LGUs to help DepEd enforce ‘new normal’ learning delivery in public schools

Robie de Guzman   •   June 30, 2020

MANILA, Philippines – The Department of the Interior and Local Government (DILG) on Tuesday urged local government units (LGU) to assist public schools in their respective areas and support the Basic Education Learning Continuity Plan of the Department of Education (DepEd).

In a statement, DILG Spokesperson and Undersecretary Jonathan Malaya said LGUs should use the special education fund (SEF) to support the localization of DepEd’s learning continuity plan and to assist public schools in their areas in adjusting to the ‘new normal’ in learning delivery modalities.

Malaya said local chief executives should immediately convene their respective local school boards to discuss which of the new learning modalities identified by the DepEd can be utilized in their respective areas.

They should also tackle allocations for the SEF, as well as identify and provide the necessary support to their teachers and learners, stressing that there is only less two months left before the next school year starts.

“In a crisis, we need all the help that we can get at ang SEF ay tulong na itinatadhana ng ating batas para sa pagpapanatili ng matibay na pundasyon at kalidad ng edukasyon sa ating bansa,” Malaya said.

“Hinihikayat natin ang LGUs na gamitin ito ngayong malaki ang kinakaharap na pagsubok ng ating sektor ng edukasyon,” he added.

Under the Local Government Code, the local school board (LSB) is a body created on the provincial, city, and municipal levels that determines the supplementary budgetary allocation the LGU can provide for the operation and maintenance of public schools nationwide, among others.

Section 272 of the Local Government Code states that “the proceeds from the additional one percent (1%) tax on real property accruing to the SEF shall be automatically released to the LSBs.”

Malaya said that the board’s function in providing support to public schools will be a big help in the implementation of the learning continuity plan this school year which “will be more challenging in comparison to the previous ones.”

“We may have a lot on our plate nowadays pero hindi natin kailanman dapat kalimutan ang edukasyon ng ating mga kabataan,” he added.

The DILG spokesperson also urged LGUs to assist in the enrollment activities by providing kiosk or center in the barangay for the distribution and collection of enrolment forms of learners in public schools in their respective areas and assisting schools in the delivery and collection of printed modules from the homes of the students.

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