DILG says cops on ‘narco-list’ who opted to retire early not spared from probe, charges

Robie de Guzman   •   February 20, 2020   •   348

MANILA, Philippines – Department of the Interior and Local Government (DILG) Secretary Eduardo Año said that cops included in the narco-list who opted to file for optional retirement will not be exonerated from criminal charges if they are found to be involved in the illegal drug trade.

Año made the statement Wednesday after some members of the opposition group slammed reports on the move of the Philippine National Police (PNP) to give the 357 cops included in the narco-list the option to retire early to reduce the cases for adjudication.

PNP chief Gen. Archie Gamboa earlier said he is open to optional retirement of police officers accused of having drug links to lessen the government resources that will be used when the adjudication begins.

He, however, asserted that the early retirement won’t clear the cops from allegations and that this is not an easy way out.

He added that any officer who initially availed of the early retirement option will be pursued if proven to be involved in the narcotics trade.

Gamboa recently met with most of the 357 cops and explained to them the process of the two-way adjudication to be initiated based on his request to President Rodrigo Duterte.

The process involves adjudication at the regional and directorial level for one week before the cases go to the national level which will handle the cases for three weeks.

Once all the cases are submitted to the Office of the PNP Chief, it will take three days for him to submit the results of the adjudication for approval.

Año said the 357 cops accused of having drug links should present proof to remove their names from the narco-list.

“Patunayan nilang wala silang kaugnayan sa iligal na droga. Nasa kanila ang burden of proof, iprisinta nila ang mga ebidensya na magpapatunay na wala silang kinalaman at kaugnayan sa iligal na droga,” he said.

The DILG chief said the evidence should be presented to four agencies handling illegal drug reports – the PNP, the Philippine Drug Enforcement Agency, the National Intelligence Coordinating Agency and the Intelligence Service of the Armed Forces of the Philippines.

“Hanggang hindi nagkakaroon ng pagkakasundo ang apat na ahensyang ito, hangga’t hindi nila sinasabi ng ‘Okay na yan’, magpapatuloy ang imbestigasyon,” he said.

The narco-list is a consolidation of intelligence and other reports from law-enforcement agencies and still needs to be verified and validated. Aside from uniformed personnel, the list also includes local officials and judges as well as other personalities.

Once a complaint is filed, it can be validated within a month, Año said.

He also said that the final clearance will come from the President. 

“Gusto nating maparusahan ang mga may kaugnayan sa iligal na droga” Año said. “I commend PNP Chief Gamboa for having the courage in resolving this issue na matagal ng burden ng PNP. We need to deal with this para makapagtrabaho na nang matino ang ating mga pulis,” he added.

Confirmed COVID-19 cases among PNP reaches 22

Aileen Cerrudo   •   April 8, 2020

There are now 22 confirmed cases of coronavirus disease (COVID-19) among personnel of the Philippine National Police (PNP).

PNP Spokesperson PBGen. Bernard Banac said additional three police officers assigned in Metro Manila were added to the list.

Out of the total number, two have died while two others have recovered from the virus.

There are 299 PNP members who are considered persons under investigation (PUI) while 1,374 are under monitoring.

Meanwhile, PNP Chief PGen. Archie Gamboa will again undergo self-quarantine for 14 days after being exposed to three individuals who tested positive for COVID-19. AAC (with reports from Lea Ylagan)

DILG urges fast-tracking of regulatory process to boost mass testing capacity

Aileen Cerrudo   •   April 8, 2020

The Department of the Interior and Local Government (DILG) has recommended fast-tracking the regulatory process so that the country can begin mass testing for coronavirus disease (COVID-19).

In an interview on ‘Get it Straight with Daniel Razon’, DILG Secretary Eduardo Año said they target to have 8,000 COVID-19 tests per day.

“Talagang target natin lahat ng persons under investigation (PUIs),” he said.

The DILG Secretary also said that mass testing would help in identifying asymptomatic individuals who are more likely to spread the virus.

He said that the Department of Health (DOH) is already working on the protocols for the antibodies rapid test kits to check more individuals who might be COVID-19 positive.

“Ia-allow na ring gamitin iyan para sa mga persons under monitoring (PUMs),” according to Año.

Meanwhile, Chief Implementor of National Plan on COVID-19 Sec. Carlito Galvez Jr. clarified that the mass testing will prioritize the targeted population including PUIs, high-risk individuals like health workers, pregnant women, and the immunocompromised.

He also said that mass testing will be first done in the National Capital Region (NCR) which records 80% of the total COVID-19 cases in the country, followed by Regions 4, 3, Davao Region, and the Zamboanga Peninsula.

“We will focus more on testing so that we could detect and immediately isolate possible carriers,” he said. AAC (with reports from Dante Amento)

LGUs to get P30.8 billion ‘Bayanihan grant’ to boost fight against COVID-19 – DILG

Robie de Guzman   •   April 7, 2020

MANILA, Philippines – The Department of the Interior and Local Government (DILG) on Tuesday announced that the Office of the President has approved the release of P30.8 billion “Bayanihan Grant to Cities and Municipalities” amid the COVID-19 crisis.

DILG Secretary Eduardo Año said the fund will be released to boost the capacities of local government units (LGU) in responding to the needs of their constituents during the public health situation.

“Nauunawaan ng national government ang malaking hamon na hinaharap ng local government units (LGUs) sa pagtugon sa pangangailangan ng kanilang mga constituents sa gitna ng COVID-19 crisis,” he said.

“Sa pamamagitan ng Bayanihan Grant to Cities and Municipalities, magkakaroon na ng karagdagang kapasidad ang ating mga LGUs na bumili ng mga kagamitan at tulungan ang mga taong lubos na apektado ng krisis na ito,” he added.

Año said the one-time grant to cities and municipalities is equivalent to one month of their Internal Revenue Allotment.

It will be sourced from the discontinued projects of some government agencies under Republic Act 11465 or FY 2020 General Appropriations Act.

The DILG chief stressed that the funds should be solely used for programs, projects, and activities related to COVID-19.

These include the purchase of relief goods for low-income and vulnerable households; procurement of personal protective equipment for frontline service providers, medicines and vitamins, hospital equipment and supplies; disinfectants and related equipment; and tents for temporary shelter of the homeless, among others.

He also urged cities and municipalities to ensure that the Bayanihan Grant are utilized properly and to maximize it for the benefit of their constituents.

“Naniniwala ako na mas alam at ramdam ninyo ang pangangailangan sa inyong sinasakupan kaya siguruhin po sana natin na gagamitin natin ng maayos ang pondong ito para sa kapakanan ng ating mga kababayan,” Año said.

He also reminded local executives to shun politics in this time of crisis and to adhere to the “No Epal” provision stated in the guidelines set by the government in the distribution of relief goods.

The DILG chief likewise urged the public to do their part in stopping the COVID-19 crisis by cooperating with authorities and obeying the protocols on the enhanced community quarantine set by the government.

Año said the people should be committed and united to tread the path of cooperation, healing, and recovery in order for the country to rise above a crisis of this scope and magnitude.

“Ngayon po natin patunayan ang lakas, galing at tibay nating mga Pilipino laban sa anumang hamon. Magkaisa tayo laban sa COVID-19,” he said.

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