DILG tells PNP, local execs: Keep students away from malls, other crowded areas

Robie de Guzman   •   March 10, 2020   •   743

MANILA, Philippines – The Department of the Interior and Local Government (DILG) on Tuesday directed the Philippine National Police (PNP), and all mayors and village chiefs in Metro Manila to keep students away from malls, public markets and other crowded places following the declaration of class suspensions until March 14.

President Rodrigo Duterte on late Monday night announced the suspension of classes in Metro Manila as part of government efforts to curb the spread of the novel coronavirus disease (COVID-19) in the communities.

“The President has directed all local officials in NCR from mayor down to punong barangays as well as all units of the Philippine National Police to ensure that no children are seen loitering around and, if they are seen, they are to be immediately sent home to do their homework,”DILG Secretary Eduardo Año said in a statement.

“Our police officers and the barangay officials will serve as truant officers to ensure that kids stay at home. I have also directed all our Metro Manila Mayors to personally direct their respective Chiefs of Police to implement the presidential directive so that Local Governments and the police will jointly implement this policy of the government,”he added.

Año said the class suspension aims to pre-empt social distancing in order to slow down the virus spread, and that allowing students to go to public places during this time will defeat the very purpose of the action.

The DILG chief called on students’ parents to cooperate, monitor their children’s activities and ensure they stay home to do their homework to remain productive despite class suspensions.

“In the Task Force Meeting last night in Malacañang, the DepEd (Department of Education) said that they will give home assignments or performance tasks to all students so that they will have something productive to do during this period,” he said.

In a separate statement, DepEd earlier said it already directed schools to facilitate communication with the students and parents and to provide the necessary assignments to continue the process of learning the required competencies.

Home quarantine measures will also be strictly enforced for those suspected of having contracted coronavirus.

Meanwhile, Año called on all local government units in Metro Manila to temporarily suspend all mass gatherings to stop the spread of the virus.

He also reminded the public to maintain proper hygiene, and boost their immune system to fight the disease.

“We have no choice but to undertake these measures because public health demands it. Together with sustained hygiene (like regular handwashing, coughing etiquette, thermoscans and face masks), suspensions of classes and mass gathering will enable us to defeat this virus faster,” he said.

According to DILG Undersecretary and Spokesperson Jonathan Malaya, the decision to suspend classes and mass gatherings this week was recommended by the DOH Expert Advisory Group in order to lower the number of people exposed to the virus, as well as decrease the risk of transmission per contact.

The DILG official also reiterated there is no need to lockdown Metro Manila following confirmation of the virus’ local transmission.

“We are still at Sublevel 1 and this type of alert level does not require a lockdown but only enhanced hygiene and preemptive social distancing measures,” Malaya said.

He also clarified that the following measures are only applicable in Metro Manila as of this time. 

“There is no decision yet about other places in the country. That would be dependent on the findings and recommendations of the DOH,” he said.

As of posting time, the country has 24 confirmed novel coronavirus cases.

DILG to meet with Facebook execs to discuss takedown of accounts

Robie de Guzman   •   October 23, 2020

MANILA, Philippines – The Department of the Interior and Local Government (DILG) said it is set to meet with Facebook executives next week to discuss the takedown of some pages and accounts, including those that are found with links to the military and police.

“The Department of the Interior and Local Government (DILG) will meet with Facebook executives next week to discuss differences arising from the takedown of some PH-based FB pages and accounts without prior consultation and due notice,” the DILG said in a statement Thursday.

DILG Secretary Eduardo Año said the meeting will discuss how Facebook uses content-based restrictions. He also hopes that the two sides will come up with solutions on how to fight fake news and disinformation.

The social media giant previously closed down several accounts and pages that are linked to some members of the Armed Forces of the Philippines and the Philippine National Police.

Facebook said it took down these pages for their “coordinated inauthentic behavior.”

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Police nab 1 of 13 Caloocan jail escapees

Aileen Cerrudo   •   October 22, 2020

Police authorities caught one of the 13 detainees that escaped from Caloocan Custodial Facility Unit Extension on Thursday (October 22).

The detainee, identified as Aries Dunacao, was caught in his home Thursday morning.

Caloocan Chief of Police PCol. Dario Menor said they still continue their manhunt operation for the other 12 whose crimes involve illegal drugs, illegal possession of firearms, and robbery.

Menor said the 13 detainees were under quarantine for 51 days and were supposed to get transferred to the Bureau of Jail Management and Penology (BJMP) Facility which might have pushed them to escape.

Alam kasi nila na ililipat sila sa BJMP, kasi natapos na po sila ng quarantine ng 51 days, mayroon kasi kami na ginawa na rapid test noon (They know they will be transferred to the BJMP because their 51-day quarantine has been finished. We conducted a rapid test there),” he said.

Based on the rapid test for coronavirus disease (COVID-19), two of the 13 escaped detainees are positive for COVID-19, however they tested negative on the confirmatory or swab test.

Meanwhile, two police officers assigned to the Caloocan custodial facility were removed from their posts.

“They will be facing an investigation. In fact, we are now conducting the investigation,” according to Menor. AAC (with reports from Lea Ylagan)

No parties for PNP, AFP in areas under GCQ

Aileen Cerrudo   •   October 21, 2020

The Philippine National Police (PNP) will not be holding office parties during the holiday season in areas under General Community Quarantine (GCQ).

PNP Chief PGen. Camilo Cascolan said the guidelines provided by the Inter-Agency Task Force on Emerging Infectious Diseases (IATF-EID) states that mass gathering is prohibited in areas under GCQ.

Cascolan also said rather than spending for parties for the holiday season, said the money will be allotted to the government’s COVID-19 fund.

The funds can also be used for the agency’s food bank.

“No Christmas party for the Philippine National Police, they will understand that, instead of using the funds for the Christmas party. We will giving it out for COVID-19 patients or maybe for the COVID fund,” he said.

Department of the Interior and Local Government (DILG) Secretary Eduardo Año, in a statement, also said Metro Manila mayors also agreed to the protocol.

“Under GCQ bawal pa ang parties. Ang ating NCR nagkasundo ang mga Metro Mayors na GCQ muna tayo (Under GCQ, parties are prohibited. Our Metro Manila mayors agreed we are still under GCQ),” Año said.

Cascolan also reminded PNP ground commanders to increase police visibility especially in crowded places especially during the holidays.

Meanwhile, the Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) has also announced that all its units will not be holding holiday parties this year.

In a statement released Tuesday, the AFP said the amount that would have been spent for the said Yuletide revelries will be merged with the mass of funds to address COVID-19 requirements of their personnel.

“Defer Christmas parties and similar celebrations as an austerity measure and as a gesture of sensitivity to our countrymen. Fellow Filipinos here and abroad have been suffering. And this is the least we can do to commiserate with the people we have sworn to secure and serve especially in this time of crisis”, AFP Chief of Staff General Gilbert Gapay.

The statement added that the ban on all festivities during the holidays also conforms with the health protocols that proscribes mass gatherings which the AFP strictly enforces and observes. -AAC (with reports from Lea Ylagan)

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