DILG to issue show cause order vs Rizal town mayor refusing burial for 2 Muslim COVID-19 fatalities

Robie de Guzman   •   April 2, 2020   •   1948

MANILA, Philippines – The Department of the Interior and Local Government (DILG) on Thursday said it will issue a show-cause order against a Rizal town mayor for allegedly refusing to allow the burial in their area of two Muslim Filipinos who recently succumbed to novel coronavirus disease (COVID-19).

In a statement, DILG Secretary Eduardo Año said the action of the mayor of Montalban, Rizal is “a clear defiance of government guidelines on burial amid the public health situation in the country.”

Año said the mayor reportedly refused to sign the applications for burial permits, forcing the families of the deceased to bring the bodies to a Muslim cemetery in Norzagaray, Bulacan where they were laid to rest.

The first victim died on March 22 but was only buried after almost two days while the second died on March 30.

“Limitado ang Muslim cemeteries dito sa Metro Manila. Huwag na po sana nating dagdagan pa ang pighati ng mga namatayan na nagnanais lamang na maayos na mailagak sa huling hantungan ang kanilang namatay na mahal sa buhay,” Año said.

In the Islamic faith, the deceased is to be buried within 24 hours.

On the other hand, the guidelines of the Department of Health on the disposal and shipment of COVID-19 fatalities stipulate that burial must be done within 12 hours, with cremation as the preferred method, but “to the most possible extent, be in accordance with the person’s religion or customs.”

“We are displeased with the disregard of the town mayor of Islamic traditions and I have already ordered our legal office to issue the show cause order to the Mayor of Montalban, Rizal,” the DILG chief said.

“Imagine the inconvenience of transporting their dead all the way from Metro Manila to Rizal and passing through checkpoints only to be turned away and then traveling to Bulacan just to be able to bury their departed family member,” he added.

Año said they are currently investigating the incidents in coordination with the National Commission on Muslim Filipinos (NCMF).

He also said that the NCMF has formed a COVID-19 task force and may be reached through their hotline numbers 0919-7181289 and 0997-5017067 for questions and concerns of Muslim Filipinos nationwide.

‘Shoot to kill’ threat of QC exec improper, illegal – DILG

Robie de Guzman   •   August 4, 2020

MANILA, Philippines – The Department of the Interior and Local Government (DILG) on Tuesday blasted the head of the Quezon City Task Force Disiplina for supposedly making a “shoot to kill” threat against violators of quarantine protocols in the city.

In a statement, DILG Spokesperson and Undersecretary Jonathan Malaya said the remark allegedly made by Rannie Ludovica was “improper and illegal” as he advised him to refrain from issuing similar statements in the future.

“While we strongly believe that discipline is one of the preventive measures to stop the transmission of the coronavirus, this must be enforced within the bounds of the law and the DILG will not tolerate any possible abuse of authority on the part of law enforcement agencies or enforcement units of local government units,” Malaya said.

“The penalties to be imposed by local government units against quarantine violators must be within the bounds of their respective ordinances,” he added.

The DILG official also said that the Quezon City government has disowned the alleged FB post of Ludovica, saying that “it should not be taken literally, if true, and that it was merely an expression of frustration over the growing number of violations in Quezon City.

“Nonetheless, LGU department heads must be circumspect in their social media posts since this may be mistaken by their constituents as official LGU policy,” Malaya said.

In a separate statement posted on his social media account, Ludovica said his post was personal and that the city government has no shoot to kill policy against quarantine violators.

“Nagmula ang nasabing personal na Facebook post ng inyong lingkod sa aking pagkadismaya sa pagbalik natin mula sa GCQ to MECQ. Patuloy na tumataas ang bilang ng COVID-19 sa lungsod at buong bansa dahil sa kawalan ng disiplina ng karamihan sa ating mga mamamayan at paglabag nila sa batas,” he said.

He also called on the public to strictly follow health protocols to help curb the transmission of the virus.

Telcos can now secure permits to build towers in less than a month – DILG

Robie de Guzman   •   August 3, 2020

MANILA, Philippines – The Department of the Interior and Local Government (DILG) on Monday said it will now take less than a month to secure government permits to build telecommunication towers in the country.

The DILG made the announcement following President Rodrigo Duterte’s directive to improve digital infrastructure in the country and to cut down the requirements and processing time for building permit applications in government agencies.

In a statement, DILG Secretary Eduardo Año said that the new timeframe is shorter than the previous six to seven months of permit processing time.

He said the development follows the signing of a joint memorandum circular (JMC) between the DILG, Anti-Red Tape Authority (ARTA) and other agencies, streamlining documentary requirements and processing time for building permit applications on shared passive telecommunication tower infrastructure (PTTI), also known as common telecommunication towers.


“Dati po inaabot ng 200 days yung pag-apply ng permit. Dito po sa bagong JMC namin kasama ang lahat ng ahensya at mga local government units (LGUs), sabay-sabay na ang pag-process, makukuha po lahat ng permit in less than a month,” Año said.

“Dati po kailangan ng home owners association resolution, kailangan pa ng sangguniang bayan resolution, ngayon, wala na po ‘yan. Di na po ‘yan kailangan. Lahat po ng steps na nagpapabagal sa proseso ay inalis na natin,” he added.

Año said that under the memorandum, LGUs and national government agencies shall only require documents stipulated in the circular and are prohibited from requiring anything else from applicant network providers. 

He said that among the reduced requirements are: barangay clearance; documentary requirements for building permit applications on common towers such as Unified Application Form for Locational Permit, Fire Safety Evaluation Certificate, Building Permit, property documents (owners/authorized occupants of Registered/Untitled lands, authorized occupants of registered land), and select ancillary permit and accessory permits requirements.

LGUs must also adhere to the minimum processing time enforced through the JMC. 

“According to the memorandum, the prescribed processing time for construction-related permits for common towers shall be counted from the date the complete application was submitted to the concerned agency,” the DILG chief said.

He said that in seven working days, the locational clearance, barangay clearance, Fire Safety Evaluation Certificate from the Bureau of Fire, and Building Permit shall be issued all together, exclusive of the period of appeals.

If the LGU is without a Comprehensive Land Use Plan and is unable to issue a Location Clearance, Año said that the applicant may secure said Location Clearance from the regional office of DHSUD within seven days. Height Clearance Certificate shall also be issued within seven days.

He also said that application for locational clearance, barangay clearance, Fire Safety Evaluation Certificate, and Building Permit shall proceed without need of a written consent from home owners association or the condominium owner, among others.

If the Shared PTTI or common tower is proposed to be located on a privately-owned land within a residential subdivision, the telco shall certify that there is no other available or suitable site within the coverage area.

The DILG chief said that with this development, telecommunication companies such as Globe Telecom, PLDT/Smart Communications, and third telco player Dito Telecommunity Corp., can now address the public clamor for improved telecommunications services especially during the global pandemic where millions of people are working from home.

DILG warns vs scammers posing as COVID-19 contact tracers

Robie de Guzman   •   July 30, 2020

MANILA, Philippines – The Department of the Interior and Local Government (DILG) on Thursday warned the public against individuals taking advantage of the coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) pandemic by posing as members of contact tracing teams to extort money from their victims.

The DILG issued the warning following reports of unscrupulous individuals introducing themselves as contact tracers to scam unsuspecting victims into handing out payment for the COVID-19 test kits.

Reports of this scam came after the DILG said that more than 69,000 contact tracers have been deployed nationwide.

DILG Undersecretary and Spokesperson Jonathan Malaya said these individuals are sending messages or making calls to their victims, telling them to shell out money for the cost of a testing kit after they have been identified as a close contact of a COVID-19 patient.

“Hindi nila ibibigay ang impormasyon about the alleged person na nag-positive [for COVID-19], sasabihin nila na they will violate privacy laws kuno,” Malaya said in a statement.

Despite the limited information given, the scammer will insist on having the victim tested within the next 72 hours. 

The victim will then be asked for their address where the supposed testing kits will be sent. 

“Pagtawag nila sa isang bahay, they will advise the person to self-isolate at magpa-test within 72 hours. Siyempre ito namang biktima will agree to undergo testing,” he said. “Kapag naibigay mo na ang address mo, dito na sila magsisimula sa kanilang modus.”

He said scammers will then ask for their credit card number or other financial details saying that the test kits cost $50 each. 

“Yun na yung catch, matapos makuha yung address ng biktima, bigla nila ngayon itong sisingilin at sasabihing hindi libre ang test kit,” he said.

“Kapag tumanggi naman yung tao, pagbabantaan sila na they will face penalties for not undergoing the coronavirus test,” he added.

Malaya said legitimate contact tracing teams will never ask for money since their task is to track down and manage close contacts, reduce the spread of infection, and offer diagnostic, counselling and treatment to confirmed COVID-19 cases.

“We ask the public to be vigilant. Huwag po tayong basta-basta magtitiwala sa mga taong tatawag o magtetext para humingi ng pera. Pag may pera na po sa usapan, scam na po iyan,” he said.

The DILG spokesperson advised the public to immediately report such incident to the nearest police station or call the DILG through Hotline 911 and the DILG-Public Assistance and Complaint Center at 8925-0343.

“We are currently beefing up our contact tracing capabilities nationwide to serve more Filipinos for free kaya hinihikayat po natin ang ating mga kababayan na ireport po ang ganitong mga panloloko sa mga kinauukulan,” Malaya said.

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