DILG, provinces urge Senate to restore NTF-ELCAC’s P28B budget for barangay dev’t program

Robie de Guzman   •   November 16, 2021   •   264

 MANILA, Philippines – The Department of the Interior and Local Government (DILG) and the League of Provinces of the Philippines have appealed to the Senate to restore the P28.1 billion Support to Barangay Development Program (SBDP) proposed by the National Task Force to End Local Communist Armed Conflict (NTF-ELCAC) for NPA-cleared barangays in the 2022 budget.

In a statement issued on Monday, DILG Secretary Eduardo Año said the program is “a game-changer in our battle to end Communist Terrorism in the country.”

“Unti-unti nang nararamdaman ng mga naninirahan sa mga barangay na sakop ng SBDP ngayong taon ang tunay na kahulugan ng pagbabago at pagkalinga ng gobyerno na hindi nila naramdaman sa nakaraan dahil sa mga Komunistang Terorista,” Año said.

The DILG chief noted that “there is now momentum in the fight against Communist terrorism and slashing the P28.1 Billion will send a wrong signal to the Local Government Units who have been expecting these development projects next year.”

“We must remember that the battle against the CTGs is not just a battle of arms, it’s also a battle for the hearts and minds of our people,” he said.

The League of Provinces of the Philippines (LPP) echoed Año’s appeal.

During its 8th General Assembly, the LPP said it passed Resolution No. 2021-009 supporting President Rodrigo Duterte’s anti-insurgency program and urging the Senate to approve in full the proposed Support to the Barangay Development Program in the 2022 General Appropriations Bill.

“The full and continued implementation of the BDP needs to be pursued in order to bring about and sustain progress and development in these identified conflict-affected barangays that urgently need government support and assistance,” said LPP President and Marinduque Governor Presbiterio Velasco, Jr.

“The proposed projects under the SBDP which were identified by the community residents themselves, represent their collective aspiration towards genuine peace and development,” Año said.

The DILG Secretary stressed that cutting the proposed NTF-ELCAC budget next year will deprive these remote barangays of development and will make them vulnerable once more to the CTGs at a time when we have already gained significant strides in our whole-of-nation approach to defeat communist terrorism.

“Mahigit 50 taon nang naghihirap at napag-iwanan ang ating mga kababayan na nakatira sa mga bulubundukin at malalayong lugar na dati ay pinamumugaran ng mga communist terrorist groups (CTGs),” he said.

“Nakikiusap po tayo sa ating mga Senador na huwag ipagkait ang pagkakataong maramdaman nila ang pagmamalasakit ng gobyerno at malasap ang tunay pagbabago,” he added.

Año said that the P16.44-billion development projects under the SBDP this year are in full swing in the 822 insurgency-cleared barangays with several projects already completed and others in different phases of implementation.

Of the 2,318 SBDP projects funded this year, 19 are already completed, 557 are undergoing implementation, 783 are under procurement, and 959 are under pre-procurement.

Among the completed SBDP projects are livelihood projects in Barangay Mount Diwata, Monkayo, Davao de Oro; lot purchase for housing in Barangays Don Mariano Marcos, Tagbua, and Calapagan, Lupon, Davao Oriental; distribution of seed capital to poor farmers in Barangay Caduha-an, Cadiz City, Negros Occidental; livelihood project in Sangab, Maco, Davao de Oro; installation of 50 units LED solar street lights with solar panel in Barangay Darapuay, Bansalan, Davao del Sur; and purchase of rice harvesters in Carataya, Mahunodhunod, Putian and San Antonio in Cuartero, Capiz.

“Based on the current status of SBDP projects, we are expecting that majority of them will be completed by the first quarter of 2022 with some spill-over projects to be completed by the second quarter,” Año said.

He explained that some of the projects are still under procurement on the LGU level because it takes about 1-2 months for the preparation of pre-procurement documents like Detailed Engineering Design (DED) from the implementing local government units (LGUs), Certificate of Pre-condition (CP) or Certificate of Non-Coverage (CNC) from the National Commission on Indigenous People (NCIP), and Notice of Authority to Debit Account Issued (NADAI) from the Bureau of Treasury (BTr).

The DILG Chief maintained that completing these documentary requirements were even more challenging with the stringent COVID-19 restrictions as another 4 to 5 months are needed to complete the procurement process in compliance with the Republic Act (RA) 9184.

He added that actual implementation of the SBDP projects on the ground takes about 1 to 4 months to complete depending on the nature of the project with non-infra projects usually completed faster than infra projects like roads and buildings.

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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