DILG tightens policy for relief operations by private donors

Marje Pelayo   •   April 27, 2020   •   296

MANILA, Philippines — Humanitarian groups will not be able to mobilize relief operations unless they secure a certification from the Department of the Interior and Local Government (DILG), according to its new policy.

This is after reports that several private donors were using relief operations as excuse to slip past government checkpoints.

According to DILG Undersecretary Jonathan Malaya, authorities at checkpoints had some relief donors arrested for hanging banners with messages ‘Do Not Delay’ or ‘Relief Operation’ just to escape police inspection.

Malaya also stressed that the food pass issued by the Department of Agriculture (DA) is not allowed for other purposes such as relief operations. 

Niliwanag na po ito ng Department of Agriculture (DA) Secretary Dar na hindi po pwedeng gamitin ang food pass para sa relief operations, (DA Secretary Dar has clarified that food passes should not be used for relief operations),” he said.

“Ang mga food pass po ay para lamang sa movement ng farm products from the farm to the market, (Food passes can only be used for movement of farm products from the farm to the market),” he added.

To address the matter, the DILG has imposed additional policy of requiring organizations or individuals to get a certification from the local government unit (LGU) of the site for relief distribution before they move to action.

For example po, kung gusto niyo po magsagawa ng relief operation sa Taguig ay kailangan pong humingi ng certification mula sa city hall o kaya naman ay kay Mayor Cayetano,” Malaya explained.

(If you want to do relief operation in Taguig, for example, you need to get certification from the city hall or from Mayor [Lino] Cayetano.)

Ito po ang ipapakita ninyo sa mga kapulisan sa mga checkpoints. Kapag meron po kayo nito, papadaanin po kayo sa checkpoints, hindi na kayo mahihirapan,” he added.

(You will need to present the certification to the police at checkpoints. Once you have it, you will be allowed to go through easily.)

The new policy is expected to minimize, if not stop, abuse against persons in authority and to ensure that health protocols such as strict social distancing measures are observed.

The directive will also hasten checkpoint screenings and will help authorities easily identify if the relief operation is legitimate and not a ploy. MNP (with inputs from Vincent Arboleda)

Gov’t to allow motorcycle back-riding for married, cohabiting couples starting July 10

Marje Pelayo   •   July 9, 2020

MANILA, Philippines – The Department of the Interior and Local Government (DILG) has allowed motorcycle back-riding for married and cohabiting couples beginning Friday (July 10) under certain conditions.

According to DILG Spokesperson Undersecretary Jonathan Malaya, a motorcycle rider must provide a protective shield in between him and his back ride and both must wear respective helmets and facemask.

“Kailangan po ito for safety purposes at for convenience na rin po. So instead na nakayakap tayo doon sa driver, dito na po tayo hahawak [This (shield) is for safety purposes and for convenience as well. Instead of directly embracing the driver, we will hold on to this],” Malaya explained as he demonstrated how to use the protective shield.

“So kailangan din solid din ito at naka-bolt o welded doon sa motor para maging safe for both individuals utilizing the motorcycle. [This (shield) must also be solid and bolted or welded on the motorcycle to be safe for both individuals utilizing the motorcycle],” he added.

Malaya said the DILG will release an official design of protective shield which shall be used as pattern for motorcycle riders.

“Ang importante lang po ay more or less ay sumunod tayo doon sa design na inaprubahan at ito po ay made of solid materials [What’s important is that we adhere to the approved design and it should be made of solid materials],” Malaya said.

Both riders must have a valid ID and a legal document that proves their relationship as a couple which may be presented at checkpoints.

“Pwede pong dalhin nila yung kanilang marriage certificate o kaya any government-issued ID na nakalagay doon sa likod na relationship at name ng mister o misis at address [They may bring their marriage certificate or any government-issued ID that bears at the back their relationship, the name of spouse and their address],” Malaya said.

However, Malaya clarifies that non-related back riders are still not allowed and violators will be apprehended and issued with citation tickets. MNP (with reports from Lea Ylagan)

Passengers without confirmed flights won’t be allowed at airports, DILG says

Robie de Guzman   •   July 9, 2020

MANILA, Philippines – The Department of the Interior and Local Government (DILG) on Thursday reiterated its call on passengers not to go to the airports as they will not be allowed to go in if their flights and tickets are not confirmed.

In a statement, DILG Undersecretary and Spokesperson Jonathan Malaya said strict health protocols are being implemented in airports amid the novel coronavirus disease (COVID-19) pandemic and operations of airlines and other transportation companies are bound by these rules.

With the limited flights currently allowed to operate, Malaya stressed that “going to the airport without a confirmed flight or ticket is a waste of energy and time and will just lead to frustration.”

He advised passengers to contact the airlines to ensure that their flights are confirmed to avoid inconvenience.

He also reminded passengers that all tickets purchased prior to the pandemic have already been cancelled by the airlines and will need to be rebooked based on the new schedule of flights approved by airport authorities.

“Patuloy po ang paalala natin sa ating mga kababayan na huwag pong magpunta sa mga airport or seaports kung wala po tayong confirmed na flight,” he said.

“Mangyari lamang po na makipag-ugnayan kayo sa inyong airline kung confirmed ang inyong flight. Mapapagod lang po kayo sa biyahe at masasayang ang pera ninyo at mauuwi lang po ito sa wala,” he added.

Malaya also said that walk-in customers will not be able to purchase tickets at the airports as all flights are regulated in coordination with the airline companies.

“Even if you were issued a ticket by the airline, you will have to confirm that prior to going to the airport because there may have been some changes in flight schedules. Moreover, all tickets issued prior to the pandemic are canceled and will not be honored by airport authorities,” he said.

The Department of Transportation, through the Civil Aeronautics Board (CAB), earlier released an advisory requiring all airlines to secure accurate information, especially the contact details of all passengers, even those who purchased tickets from travel agencies, to ensure that they will be properly notified by the airlines if flights are canceled. Moreover, the said information may also be helpful in future contact tracing purposes.

The CAB also directed all airlines “to make appropriate public announcements advising individuals who have purchased tickets prior to the COVID-19 crisis that their flights are canceled and that they need to rebook accordingly.”

So far, only 29 airports nationwide are open for operation and even in airports allowed to operate, there are limited flight schedules upon the request of Local Government Units, the DILG said.

DILG tells LGUs to digitize transactions amid COVID-19 pandemic

Robie de Guzman   •   July 8, 2020

MANILA, Philippines – The Department of the Interior and Local Government (DILG) on Wednesday urged local government units (LGUs) to move towards digitized transactions to reduce contact and impede further transmission of novel coronavirus disease (COVID-19) as the country continues to fight the pandemic.

In a statement, DILG Secretary Eduardo Año called on LGUs to fast-track the issuance of permits and clearances in setting up crucial infrastructure needed for digital connectivity across the country including the construction of cell sites to improve internet connectivity.

“The millions working from home, the students looking forward to on-line learning, and the workers who depend on the digital economy are all expecting government to address the gaps in our internet infrastructure,” Año said.

“We therefore encourage all LGUs to beef up their digital platforms in their communities as we move towards the new normal,” he added.

He also said that going digital is the “call of the time,” but more than technological advancement, digitized government and consumer transactions are precautionary measures that can contribute immensely to impeding virus transmission.

In the same statement, DILG Undersecretary and Spokesperson Jonathan Malaya said that digital platforms can be an important partner of LGUs in ensuring the health and safety of the public while promoting economic growth. 

“You have to strike a balance. We must begin the economic recovery even as we fight COVID,” he said.

Malaya also noted that LGUs have a key role in bolstering the digital platform, not just in government services but also in building business and consumer confidence during these trying times.

He likewise said that LGUs must encourage businesses to veer towards online money transfer instead of physical payment as part of the new normal.

“Many businesses have now been engaging the financial services provided by major payment gateways such as Smart Padala, Gcash, PayMaya, Google, and Click2Pay that have drastically changed our experience in making online payments – from the conventional “pasaload” to a more sophisticated process of online payment,” he said.

Malaya also said that cashless payments have also helped in the fast distribution of the second batch of the Social Amelioration Program (SAP) subsidy.

The government likewise advocates the use of online payment for taxes and mandatory social contributions, such as GSIS, BIR, SSS, PagIBIG, and PhilHealth, he added.

“Despite some security issues that the government assures can be countered, online payment is also seen to reduce red tape and cost of doing business as all government agencies, through the Ease of Doing Business Act, are mandated to automate their processes including payment of taxes, fees, and charges,” he said.

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