DILG to pursue raps against winning narco-politicians

Robie de Guzman   •   May 24, 2019   •   1727

Campaign posters and flyers are left scattered after people voted for their candidates during the election on May 13, 2013 at the Tabuk Central School, Tabuk City, Kalinga. The same scenario is seen on other precincts, posters and flyers are seen scattered on entrances of precincts. (Gaye Fritz Ofilas/PVI)

MANILA, Philippines – The government will pursue the administrative charges filed against the politicians named on the narco-list who won in the 2019 midterm elections, the Department of the Interior and Local Government (DILG) said Friday.

“Kahit na pinalad silang manalo, tuloy pa rin ang administrative cases laban sa kanila. Hindi pa rin sila makakalusot kung sila ay mapapatunayang sangkot talaga sa iligal na droga,” DILG Secretary Eduardo Año said in a press statement.

Año said that the government still considers as victory the defeat of some narco-politicians in the recent polls.

“The purpose of President Duterte in releasing the names was to inform the public of the local officials who are linked to the drug trade. The fact that some of them lost is already a substantial victory for us because if we didn’t release the names, more, if not all, could have won the election,” he said.

The DILG in March filed administrative charges against 46 suspected narco-politicians. Of this number, 37 ran for public office and 26 won a fresh term despite the release of the narco-list two months prior to the polls.

Among them were two congressmen, one vice-governor, 18 mayors, three vice-mayors, one councilor and one board member. These suspected narco-politicians were from Calabarzon, BARMM, Eastern Visayas, Ilocos Region, Northern Mindanao, Western Visayas, Central Luzon, Zamboanga Peninsula, SOCCKSARGEN, and Caraga.

Año said the Philippine Drug Enforcement Agency (PDEA) will file the criminal cases against the said politicians linked to narcotics trade.

He added that the DILG is in close coordination with the Philippine National Police (PNP), PDEA, and other national government agencies tasked in the illegal drugs war for the continued pursuit of all cases against the winning narco-politicians.

Año said there is a possibility that drug money was used during the election campaign.

“It’s not impossible that drug money was used in the campaign so that could have been a factor in their victory considering the prevalence of vote buying in the last election,” he said.

He further stated that the DILG is in close coordination with the National Police Commission for the removal of police deputation powers of the winning narco-politicians ahead of their official assumption to office on June 30.

Clearing operations, not competition among local chief execs – Mayor Isko

Maris Federez   •   September 18, 2019

Manila City Mayor Francisco “Isko Moreno” Domagoso

In just a little over a week, the 60-day period that the Department of the Interior and Local Government (DILG) has set for the local chief executives to clean the streets of Metro Manila will come to an end.

But Manila mayor Francisco “Isko Moreno” Domagoso has admitted that they have a long way to go to completely clean the streets of the almost 900 barangays in the city.

“I’m not doing it for my fellow mayors, I’m doing it for the people of Manila,” he said.

Mayor Isko, however, stated that he is happy with the accomplishments of other cities in Metro Manila that have completed clearing their streets of obstructions.

 “I’m happy for them but this is not a competition among mayors,” he added.

The DILG, however, that no Metro Manila cities had been 100% compliant in clearing the streets.

Moreno admitted that several areas in Manila, such as Quiapo and Tondo, remain a big problem for him.

But he assured that he will not waver from his resolve.

“Whether mameet namin o hindi naman namin mameet, it doesn’t matter because we will continue.”

Moreno pointed to the lack of governance caused the return of the obstructions in some areas in Manila in the past.

The local chief executive, however, warned that he will file charges against the barangay officials who will fail to accomplish their tasks and submit the inventories of their areas of concern. (from the report of Harlene Delgado) /mbmf

DILG: No LGU in Metro Manila is 100% compliant with road clearing order

Aileen Cerrudo   •   September 17, 2019

None of the Metro Manila local government units has reached 100 percent compliance with the road clearing order, according to the Department of the Interior and Local Government (DILG).

In a statement, the DILG said they still have not identified which of the LGUs are fully compliant with President Rodrigo Duterte’s order to clear all public roads.

“We have not made any determination on which LGUs are fully compliant,” according to DILG Spokesman Jonathan Malaya.

Malaya also said an LGU needs to be fully compliant with the following before it can be declared as obstruction-free:

  • Enact or revisit ordinances related to road clearing and banning of illegal construction
  • Prepare an inventory of roads within their jurisdiction
  • Develop and implement displacement strategies
  • Cause and rehabilitation of recovered public roads

He also added that the DILG will validate the data from the LGUs regarding their status in the road clearing directive.—AAC (with reports from Mon Jocson)

DILG, LGUs urged to revoke business permits of POGOs evading tax fees

Robie de Guzman   •   September 16, 2019

MANILA, Philippines – Senator Joel Villanueva on Monday called on the Department of the Interior and Local Government (DILG) and local government units (LGU) to support the Finance department’s move to shut down Philippine Offshore Gaming Operators (POGO) that are not complying with the country’s tax laws.

In a statement, Villanueva said the DILG should help in this measure by ordering LGUs to revoke business permits of POGOs that are evading their tax liabilities.

The DOF over the weekend ordered the Bureau of Internal Revenue (BIR) to close down and file charges against POGOS including their service providers that fail or refuse to settle the tax liabilities of their foreign workers.

READ: PH gov’t to close down tax-evading POGOs

The order was issued following reports of slow collection of withholding income taxes from select POGOs with tax liabilities amounting to P21.62 billion despite the issuance of 130 letter-notices to these firms.

“We do not owe anything to these errant POGOs who have the gall to refuse the correct payment of taxes of their workers. We expect nothing less than the immediate shut down of these firms,” Villanueva said.

“It is high time that our government acts with dispatch to make these firms comply with our country’s laws. We call on the interior department to support the Department of Finance by asking all local government units to revoke business permits of POGOs who do not comply with our tax laws,” he added.

The Philippine Amusement and Gaming Corporation (Pagcor) earlier assured support for the Finance department’s move to close down errant POGOs.

“We follow the law. BIR has the legal authority to close down establishments who evade taxes. Pagcor supports this move. We are issuing a letter to all POGO operators and service providers to this effect,” Pagcor Chairman Andrea Domingo said in a statement.

Villanueva also urged the DILG to assist the BIR in implementing the order by asking the police to shutter tax-evading online gaming operators the way it closed down operations of the Philippine Charity Sweepstakes Office (PCSO) last month.

It can be recalled that police closed down PCSO outlets in July after President Rodrigo Duterte ordered the immediate suspension of all its gaming operations over the supposed corruption in the agency.

The president later lifted the suspension on lotto and small-town lottery operations but with certain conditions.

Villanueva also pointed out that POGOs only provide “minimal benefits” to the country compared to its effects to Filipino locals and businesses, including the increase of rental rates for residential or office spaces near POGO hubs.

“Hindi biro ang pagsulpot ng sektor na ito at ang mga kaakibat na problemang dala dala nito tulad ng paglikha ng tinatawag na real estate bubble at pagtaas ng krimen sangkot ang mga dayuhan,” Villanueva said.

“Sa ating pananaw, hindi po sapat ang kanilang binabayaran na buwis para payagan itong mamayagpag,” he added.

He also raised concern over the spiking number of crimes involving foreign nationals, citing a recent raid in Pasig City where 277 Chinese nationals were apprehended.

READ: BI arrests close to 300 Chinese nationals in Pasig City

“Dumadayo na rin po sa ating bayan ang mga kriminal na tumatakas sa kanilang pananagutan sa batas ng China, tulad na lamang ng nakaraang raid sa isang opisina sa Pasig noong nakalipas na lingo,” he said.

“Maging ang gobyerno ng China po ay hinihiling na ipagbawal na ang pagpapatakbo ng mga POGO mula sa ating pamahalaan. Maliit lang po ang benepisyo natin sa sektor na ito, at mas malaki pa ang dulot na abala sa atin nito,” he added.

Villanueva, who chairs the Senate committee on labor, said a public inquiry into POGOs will be conducted where they will discuss all the facts and effects it has brought to the country.

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