DILG warns of charges against cops accepting gifts

Robie de Guzman   •   August 13, 2019   •   693

MANILA, Philippines – The Department of the Interior and Local Government (DILG) on Tuesday threatened to file charges against police officers who will accept or solicit gifts from the public in relation to their official duties.

“As a matter of policy, employees under the DILG, including police officers, will be held criminally and administratively liable if they receive or solicit gifts of monetary value from people they serve or transact with in relation to their official functions,” DILG Secretary Eduardo Año said in a statement.

Año said such policy is stated in the National Police Commission Memorandum Circular 2016-002 which penalizes the act of soliciting or accepting directly or indirectly any gift of monetary value or the act of receiving for personal use of a fee, gift or other valuable thing in the course of official duties in expectation of receiving a favor or better treatment.

The DILG chief made the statement after President Rodrigo Duterte made a remark last week saying there is nothing wrong with receiving rewards if it was done out of gratitude and generosity.

Año acknowledged the president’s remark as stated in Republic Act 3019 or the Anti-Graft and Corrupt Practices act, but he emphasized that these gifts are only acceptable if these are small or of insignificant value or given as a mere ordinary token of gratitude or friendship.

“Our laws are not unmindful of the Filipino culture of showing their appreciation towards those who help us, including public servants. It is in this context that the President’s statement must be appreciated as explained by the Chief Presidential Legal Counsel,” he said.

The DILG chief said that although an exception is provided for in the law, he still reminded police officers and other government workers that their “services are already fully paid by the people through their taxes.”

“Therefore, gifts received in exchange for favors or as a form of bribe is in direct violation of your oath of service and is a violation of the law,” he said.

He added that it has been the practice of his office to send back to the sender or refuse gifts from local government officials or other functionaries.

Año also assured that the DILG will be relentless in its pursuit to build a corruption-free police organization that is “worthy of the trust and confidence of the Filipino people.”

DILG orders intensified efforts vs illegal logging after series of typhoons

Robie de Guzman   •   November 23, 2020

MANILA, Philippines – The Department of the Interior and Local Government (DILG) on Monday said it has directed the local government units (LGU) and the Philippine National Police (PNP) to implement a crackdown on illegal logging and quarrying activities and expedited the planting of trees in coordination with the Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR).

The DILG issued the order in the wake of widespread flooding caused by Typhoon Ulysses and effects of other recent typhoons.

“The flooding brought by Typhoon Ulysses is a harsh reminder that we are failing at doing our level best to protect the environment, especially our remaining forest cover. Kayat inaatasan ko ang lahat ng PNP units at LGUs na pigilan ang illegal logging at illegal quarrying sa kanilang mga nasasakupan,” DILG Secretary Eduardo Año said in a statement.

He said the widespread flooding in Cagayan Valley, Bikol, Marikina, Rizal and in other parts of the country should be a wake-up call to protect the environment.

Año said all LGUs and PNP units must reactivate their local Anti-Illegal Logging Task Forces and “be decisive in implementing the anti-illegal logging campaign and implementation of environmental laws and programs within their localities.”

He also reminded all LGUs to conduct upland monitoring “to ensure that no illegal logging, kaingin and other forms of forest destruction” take place within their jurisdictions.

The DILG chief likewise directed the PNP to set up checkpoints and arrest illegal loggers.

He said that illegal loggers will be criminally charged for violating the Forestry Code of the Philippines (P.D. 705) and the Republic Act No. 9175 or the Chainsaw Act of 2002, among others.

“It is imperative that we must stop the wanton destruction of our remaining forest resources not only for our sake but also for future generations who will suffer the consequences of our inaction,” he said.

He also urged all LGUs to deploy more forest guards and the DENR to deploy more foresters to monitor the country’s forests and engage local communities and Civil Society Organizations in reforestation programs particularly the National Greening Program.

Contact tracers deployed vs COVID-19 nearing target of 50k – DILG

Robie de Guzman   •   November 17, 2020

MANILA, Philippines – A total of 46,338 contact tracers have been deployed to all local government units to boost the government’s response against the novel coronavirus disease (COVID-19) pandemic, the Department of the Interior and Local Government (DILG) said Tuesday.

DILG Secretary Eduardo Año said the number is a few thousands shy of the targeted 50,000 contact tracers prescribed under the Bayanihan to Recover as One Act.

Año said the contact tracers currently working on the ground will “aid and intensify the country’s response and contact tracing capabilities” to counter the pandemic.

“The low number of cases we are experiencing now is partly a result of our ramped up contact tracing capacity which immediately cuts the community transmission once a COVID patient is identified,” he said in a statement.

“Our battle against COVID-19 is likely to be a long haul until our medical experts find a vaccine and a cure. With the help of the 46,338 CTs who are now embedded in the localities, the task of fighting and containing the virus will be much easier and will be carried out more efficiently,” he added.

Año said that as committed by the DILG and stipulated in Bayanihan 2 Law, 6,664 qualified applicants nationwide are in the latter phase of hiring process to determine who will fill the remaining 3,662 contact tracers that will complete the 50,000 targeted number.

“We are geared towards completing the 50K CTs in compliance with the law, and we are going to hire the remaining 4k within the week,” he said.

The DILG chief said that the National Capital Region (NCR), as the epicenter of the COVID-19 crisis in the country got the most number of contact tracers with 7,362 followed by Region III with 5,026; Region VII with 4,241; 3,679 for CALABARZON; 3,306 for Region VI; Region IX with 3,267; Region XI with 3,041; Region V with 2,736; CARAGA with 2,544; and, 2,000 for Region X.

Other regions such as MIMAROPA have 1,529 new contact tracers with Region XII getting 1,501; BARMM with 1,480; Region I with 1,445; Region VIII with 1,395; Region II with 1,215; and CAR with 571.

“Itong karagdagang 46,338 na CTs na ito on top of the 97,400 CTs that we had hired before will definitely boost the country’s contact tracing capabilities and hopefully quell the progression of the virus in the Philippines. Malaking bagay talaga ito,” Año said.

The DILG chief also directed local government units in tyhoon-ravaged areas with evacuation centers to deploy their contact tracing teams to implement minimum health standards, conduct health promotion among the evacuees, and distribute face masks and alcohol, among others.

The DILG assured that government’s contact tracers will be safe as they fulfil their duties with the provision of complete Personal Protective Equipment (PPE); medical supplies; and other vital necessities in the performance of their duties, among others.

Among their responsibilities are to conduct interviews, profiling, and perform an initial public health risk assessment of COVID-19 cases and their identified close contacts; refer the close contacts to isolation facilities; conduct enhanced contact tracing in collaboration with other agencies and private sector; conduct daily monitoring of close and general contacts for at least 14 days, and perform such other tasks in relation to the COVID response. They are also mandated to conduct health promotion activities in areas with zero-covid cases.

Under DILG’s guidelines, contact tracers will earn a minimum of P18,784 per month on a contract of service status.

60-day deadline for road clearing operations resumes—DILG

Aileen Cerrudo   •   November 16, 2020

The Department of the Interior and Local Government (DILG) has announced that the 60-day deadline for road clearing operations will begin on Monday (November 16).

DILG Secretary Eduardo Año said local government units (LGUs) are given 60 days to clear their roads from obstructions.

He also reminded LGUs to still implement health and safety protocols amid the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) pandemic.

Bagaman patuloy ang serbisyo publiko at mga inisyatibo para manumbalik ang sigla ng ekonomiya, buhay at kalusugan pa rin ang pinakamahalaga (While public service and the initiative for economic recovery continues, life and health are still important), he said.

However, Año clarified that road clearing operation remains suspended in areas under Enhanced Community Quarantine (ECQ) and Modified ECQ. Road clearing operations will be fully implemented in Modified General Community Quarantine areas.

The road clearing operations include removal of road and sidewalk obstructions, crafting and implementation of displacement plans, rehabilitation, and maintenance of cleared roads. -AAC (with reports from Asher Cadapan Jr.)

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