DILG Sec. Año returns to work after more than 3 months in hospital

Marje Pelayo   •   April 16, 2021   •   185

DILG Secretary Eduardo Año

 

MANILA, Philippines – Secretary Eduardo Año of the Department of the Interior and Local Government (DILG) is returning to work on Friday (April 16) after more than three months of hospital care.

In a statement, Interior Undersecretary Jonathan Malaya said the DILG chief already received clearance from his doctors, though it will be on a work-from-home setup until he is fully recovered.

“After more than three months of grueling struggle, including a heart operation, the Secretary is well, in high spirits, and ready to reassume his duties in the Department as well as in the National Task Force COVID-19 and in the IATF-EID,” Malaya said.

“He will start by first working from home and eventually to full normal routine,” he noted.

Malaya expressed gratitude to the public for respecting the DILG Chief’s privacy in the past few months and “for giving him the time to rest, recuperate, and fully recover.’

Año warns 20 LGUs over illegal, unreported, unregulated fishing in municipal waters

Marje Pelayo   •   May 10, 2021

MANILA, Philippines – The Department of the Interior and Local Government (DILG) issued stern warnings to 20 local government units (LGUs) for illegal, unreported, and unregulated fishing (IUUF).

DILG Secretary Eduardo Año also reminded the 20 LGUs “to exercise their mandate and responsibilities, under the Philippine Fisheries Code” and to inform the DILG about the number of illegal, unreported and unregulated fishing committed within their jurisdictions or face administrative sanctions.

“Despite the pandemic, we want to remind LGUs of the protection of our aquatic resources which, unfortunately, is still an issue in the country,” he said.

“Para sa 20 pamahalaang lokal na ito na ating pinadalhan ng warning, mahigpit ang ating paalala na pangalagaan ang ating mga karagatan,” he added.

Año stressed that IUUF can cause a serious decline in fisheries resources, and can negatively impact food security and livelihood of coastal communities and fisherfolk thus it has to be closely monitored by the LGUs.

Using the Visible Infrared Imaging Radiometer Suite (VIIRS) technology, a satellite that can detect artificial light sources or superlight, the highest number of IUUF violations were registered in the following areas:

Tongkil, Sulu (2,549)
Zamboanga City, Zamboanga Del Sur (2,446)
Milagros, Masbate (1,595)
Cawayan, Masbate (1,350)
San Pascual, Masbate (1,193)
Languyan, Tawi-tawi (1,057)
Calauag, Quezon (1,009)
Hadji Mohammad Ajul, Basilan (973)
Linapacan, Palawan (959)
Carles, Iloilo (762)

Also included in the top 20 LGUs are Cuyo, Palawan; Santa Cruz, Marinduque; Madridejos, Cebu; Coron, Palawan; San Jose, Occidental Mindoro; Taytay, Palawan; Magsaysay, Palawan; Catbalogan City, Samar; Cavite City, Cavite; and, Quezon, Quezon.

According to Año, the LGUs that received warnings are the top 20 with the highest number of violation on the use of superlight and other artificial light sources which is used to attract fishes during nighttime.

The use of these artificial light sources is prohibited under Section 98 of the Republic Act No. 8550, as amended by Republic Act No. 10654 or the Philippines Fisheries Code of 1998.

The DILG Chief urged LGUs to implement DILG Memorandum Circular (MC) No. 2018-59 which requires LGUs to regulate and monitor fisheries activities and strictly enforce the provisions of the amended Fisheries Code.

He assured that the DILG, through its Fisheries Compliance Audit (FishCA), is committed to monitoring LGUs’ fulfillment of responsibilities under the code and emphasizes the need for effective management of municipal waters for biodiversity conservation and food security.

LGUs failing to enforce mass gathering restrictions to face raps — DILG

Robie de Guzman   •   May 10, 2021

MANILA, Philippines — The Department of the Interior and Local Government (DILG) warned to file raps against local government units (LGU) that will fail to strictly enforce prohibition or limitation on mass gatherings under community quarantine classifications being enforced in the country.

The DILG issued the statement following President Rodrigo Duterte’s directive to strictly enforce the face mask policy and other health protocols to curb the transmission of COVID-19.

“Local government units have a critical role in enforcing mass gathering regulations as they are nearer to their constituencies compared to the national government,” DILG Secretary Eduardo Año said in a statement on Sunday.

“What local chief executives (LCE) can do is to adopt and implement guidelines and policies of the Inter-Agency Task Force (IATF) as well as enact necessary local policies to support these regulations,” he added.

In line with the President’s directive to the DILG, Año issued DILG Memorandum Circular (MC) No. 2021-050 reminding all LCEs that they will be sanctioned if found violating any of the prohibitions contained under the IATF Omnibus Guidelines on the Implementation of Community Quarantine in the Philippines with Amendments as of April 15, 2021, which provides for the prohibitions and limitations on public and mass gatherings.

Any violation of the prohibitions in the Omnibus Guidelines shall constitute non-cooperation of the person or entities which is punishable under Section 9 paragraph (d) or (e) of Republic Act No. 11332 and its Implementing Rules and Regulations (IRR).

Failure on the part of local officials to enforce IATF resolutions may lead to charges filed against them for dereliction of duty based on Article 208 of the Revised Penal Code. Administrative sanctions may likewise be imposed on them under the Local Government Code.

“Maaaring administrative complaint or criminal case ang isampa laban sa pabayang LCEs. Hindi po gusto ng DILG na dumating sa puntong gawin ito kaya sana ipatupad nang maayos ng LGUs ang polisiya sa mass gatherings ayon sa quarantine classification sa kanilang lugar,” Año said.

The DILG chief also reminded all LGUs to exercise their power of supervision over their component LGUs.

“The LGU through its Sanggunian, at the instance of a concerned LCE, may hear any complaint for violation, misconduct, and/or dereliction of duty of lower LGU officials and impose sanctions as may be allowed by existing laws against an erring official,” he said.

Año has also directed the Philippine National Police (PNP) to strictly enforce all applicable guidelines and policies of the IATF especially on the prohibition on mass gatherings.

“The PNP should assist LGUs in the enforcement of all policies, laws both national and local, relative to the curtailment of the spread of COVID-19,” he said.

Citizens may also file complaints to their local DILG Regional Offices regarding the failure of their LGUs to implement mass gathering regulations by emailing or calling the nearest DILG Regional Office or field office or the DILG Emergency Operations Center (EOC) at dilgeoc.complaint@gmail.com and telephone number (02) 8876-3454 local 881 to 884.

“Don’t hesitate to lodge your complaints through your local DILG ROs so that appropriate actions may be taken upon verification,” the DILG said.

Under the IATF Omnibus Guidelines as of April 15, 2021, gatherings outside residences and gatherings at residences are prohibited in areas under Enhanced Community Quarantine (ECQ), Modified Enhanced Community Quarantine (MECQ), and General Community Quarantine (GCQ), but allowed up to 50% of seating or venue capacity for areas under Modified General Community Quarantine (MGCQ).

Gatherings for the provision of government services and authorized humanitarian activities are allowed in all areas under ECQ, MECQ, GCQ, and MGCQ.

Meanwhile, religious gatherings under ECQ are prohibited but religious services may be conducted through online video recording and transmission. Under MECQ, religious gatherings are allowed up to 10% but may be increased to 30% of seating capacity, subject to LGU regulations.

Under GCQ, it is allowed up to 30% but may be increased to 50% of seating capacity, subject to LGU regulations. In areas under MGCQ, it is allowed up to 50% of seating capacity, limited to religious worship or service and subject to LGU regulations.

Meanwhile, LGU-initiated gatherings in areas under ECQ, MECQ, and GCQ are limited to gatherings that are essential for the provision of health or government services or humanitarian activities and are subject to prior authorization from the appropriate government agency or instrumentality.

In areas under MGCQ it is allowed for any activity up to 50% of seating or venue capacity in compliance with ventilation standards set by the DOLE. – RRD (with details from Correspondent Rosalie Coz)

DOJ, DILG crafting guidelines for Duterte order to detain people improperly wearing face masks

Robie de Guzman   •   May 6, 2021

MANILA, Philippines – The Department of Justice (DOJ) and the Department of the Interior and Local Government (DILG) are crafting guidelines for the latest order of President Rodrigo Duterte to detain those who are improperly wearing face masks in public, Justice Secretary Menardo Guevarra said Thursday.

In a message to reporters, Guevarra said the guidelines will include details on the booking and detention processes, as well as the investigation and the filing of charges against those who will be apprehended.

The DOJ chief, however, stressed that Duterte’s order takes effect immediately even if the guidelines are still being formulated.

“The President’s directive takes effect immediately even without the guidelines. Existing laws and ordinances define the prohibited acts and impose the corresponding penalties therefore, and the relevant rules of court govern the procedure,” Guevarra said.

He also advised the public to wear face masks properly and to follow the law to avoid being detained.

“The best way to avoid being arrested while the guidelines are being formulated is to wear a face mask and obey the law,” he said.

On Wednesday, Duterte ordered the Philippine National Police to impose a stricter mask mandate to stem the spread of COVID-19 that mostly affected urban centers.

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