DILG welcomes petition questioning legality of revised GCTA guidelines

Robie de Guzman   •   October 2, 2019   •   527

Inmates listen during a peace accord event to stop violence amongst gangs inside the New ‘Bilibid’ Prison’s maximum security compound in Muntinlupa city, south of Manila, Philippines, 27 December 2018. EPA-EFE/FRANCIS R. MALASIG

MANILA, Philippines – The Department of the Interior and Local Government (DILG) has welcomed the petition filed before the Supreme Court questioning the legality of the revised implementing rules and regulations of the Republic Act 10592 which increased the good conduct time allowance (GCTA) given to inmates.

DILG spokesperson Undersecretary Jonathan Malaya said they are ready to defend their position, adding that the department along with the Department of Justice (DOJ) worked hard to promulgate the revised guidelines to “clarify the ambiguous provisions of the GCTA law that have led to past abuse in its implementation.”

“The revised IRR addresses the many inadequacies of the old IRR that were abused and taken advantage of by corrupt correctional officials,” Malaya said in a statement.

“We will be working closely with our statutory counsel, the Office of the Solicitor General, and the DOJ in vigorously defending the new IRR before the Supreme Court,” he added.

The DILG official also stressed that the law gave the DOJ and the DILG the authority and responsibility to craft the IRR.

Officers from the Bureau of Corrections (BuCor) and the Bureau of Jail Management and Penology (BJMP) who have the “necessary experience and technical expertise on the matter” helped in the crafting of the guidelines.

“The new IRR is one crucial step in the reform of the BuCor,” Malaya said.

A group of inmates at the New Bilibid Prison (NBP) earlier filed a petition asking the Supreme Court to nullify the revised IRR of the GCTA law, particularly the provision disqualifying convicts of heinous crimes from availing of time allowance for good conduct, loyalty, study, teaching and mentoring for “going beyond the law and for being tantamount to executive legislation.

The petitioners also urged the high court to order the BuCor and the BJMP to refrain from retroactively applying the exclusions introduced by the revised IRR which they said are disadvantageous to any prisoners.

“While we are confident of our legal position, the final arbiter will be the highest court of the land whose decision we shall honor and respect,” Malaya concluded.

DILG orders police deployment in remittance centers distributing SAP 2nd tranche

Robie de Guzman   •   August 12, 2020

MANILA, Philippines – The Department of the Interior and Local Government (DILG) said it has directed all police stations across the country to deploy police officers in remittance centers distributing the second tranche of the government’s subsidy under Social Amelioration Program (SAP).

In a statement, the DILG said this is to ensure that health protocols, including social distancing and the mandatory use of face masks, are being implemented in the remittance centers where SAP beneficiaries are claiming their government assistance.

DILG Secretary Eduardo Año issued this directive to Joint Task Force COVID Shield commander Guillermo Eleazar, according to the department’s spokesperson, Undersecretary Jonathan Malaya.

“Our field offices have monitored long lines in some remittance centers, we advise them to practice social distancing at all times to protect themselves and their families,” Malaya said.

“We are also urging the barangay to assign barangay tanods to remind the public of the minimum health standards together with the PNP,” he added.

He said the Pulis sa Barangay/Quarantine Rules Supervisor, the PNP’s COVID-19 focal person in the community, have also been directed to supervise all barangay tanods to be deployed in remittance centers to ensure the implementation of minimum health standards to prevent COVID-19 transmission.

Malaya also encouraged SAP beneficiaries to maximize the use of cashless transactions since financial service provider (FSP) platforms like GCash and PayMaya mobile applications can be used to purchase products. 

“Kung puwedeng hindi na nila i-encash at dumiretso na sila sa mga grocery o botika na tumatanggap ng cashless transaction mas mabuti, mas walang contact. Mas protektado tayo sa virus,” he said.

But if the beneficiaries will insist on getting their assistance in cash, Malaya said they must practice physical distancing together with other minimum health standards to avoid transmission of COVID-19. 

He explained that acquiring the virus by not exercising physical distancing will defeat the whole purpose of the assistance.

He said based on reports from the DILG’s field offices, more than a million original and waitlisted family beneficiaries nationwide have received their emergency subsidy through electronic means.

Waitlisted families are those who were not accommodated during the first tranche but were deemed to be qualified by the local government units and the Department of Social Welfare and Development.

Leading with most waitlisted beneficiaries receiving their aid is Region 3 followed by Regions 12, 6, 10 and the National Capital Region.

Meanwhile, 430,445 original beneficiaries from six regions previously under enhanced community quarantine have also received their 2nd tranche of financial aid according to Año. Only limited regions of the country previously under ECQ are entitled to a 2nd tranche of the SAP.

He said that 201,983 of the original beneficiaries from Iloilo Province and Bacolod have received their 2nd tranche of the SAP while in Benguet, a total of 100,646 were benefitted followed by Albay Province with 93,527; CALABARZON with 18,038; Cebu Province with 12,951; and, Pangasinan with 3,300.

DILG reminds public, PNP: Be more vigilant vs bogus COVID-19 contact tracers

Robie de Guzman   •   August 10, 2020

MANILA, Philippines – The Department of the Interior and Local Government (DILG) has urged the public as well as the Philippine National Police (PNP) to be more vigilant as it warns anew against persons posing as Department of Health (DOH) contact tracers extorting money from unsuspecting victims.

In a statement, DILG Secretary Eduardo Año said the PNP and the local government units (LGU) should constantly be on the lookout for scammers taking advantage of the fear and panic of people amid the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) pandemic for their own gains.

“Isa pang virus na kailangan pag-ingatan ng mga tao ang mga scammer na ito na sumasabay pa at nakukuhang manamantala ng kapwa ngayong krisis at ito ngang sa DOH ang pinaka-recent. I urge all LGUs and our men and women of the PNP to immediately investigate these criminal activities,” he said. 

“Hindi na kayo [scammers] naawa sa mga kababayang nating niloloko ninyo,” he added.

Año issued the reminder after an advisory from the DOH last Friday, warning the public of certain individuals misrepresenting themselves as members of a contact tracing team.

According to the DOH, these unscrupulous individuals are maliciously asking for personal information and extorting money in the process.

The department clarified that it does not have a contact tracing team as it reminded the public “to verify basic information and ensure that they have been referred by your Barangay Health Emergency Response Teams (BHERTs).”

The contact tracing teams are led by LGUs and are supervised by the DILG.

“We condemn the perpetrators of these acts and warn the public against individuals who are taking advantage of this health crisis. The DOH will take appropriate legal action, as necessary. The Department has since coordinated with the Philippine National Police and the National Bureau of Investigation to investigate the matter,” the DOH said.

Año recently cautioned the public against individuals pretending to be members of a contact tracing team who were calling and sending messages to households telling them that they were identified as close contacts of a person who has tested positive with COVID-19. Later on, reports said that they would try to extort money for the cost of test kits once personal information were given to them.

“Inuulit ko po, hinding-hindi po hihingi ng pera ang mga contact tracing teams for 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. ‘Yun lamang po,” he said.

He then encouraged the public to immediately report suspicious calls of the same nature to the nearest police station or PNP unit or call the DILG through Hotline 911 and the DILG-Public Assistance and Complaint Center at 8925-0343.


Next PNP Chief: DILG’s Año to recommend 5 names to Duterte

Robie de Guzman   •   August 7, 2020

MANILA, Philippines – Department of the Interior and Local Government (DILG) Secretary Eduardo Año is set to submit to President Rodrigo Duterte his shortlist of candidates to be the next chief of the Philippine National Police (PNP).

In an exclusive interview with UNTV News, Año said his list would consist of five names – three of them are three-star generals and are members of the PNP command group. The remaining two would be two-star and one-star generals but he has yet to pick the names of those he will recommend to the president.

“Sa ngayon, pare-parehas sila eh. Pero for sure, yung mga 3-star [generals] kasama yan sa ire-recommend ko. Pag-aaralan ko pa yung mga 2-star at 1-star na pwede isama sa listahan but I will submit five names,” he said.

Año said he will submit the list at least a week before the mandatory retirement of PNP chief General Archie Gamboa.

Gamboa will bow out of the police service when he reaches the mandatory retirement age of 56 on September 3.

“Normally, mga two weeks to one week before magsusubmit na ulit ako ng pangalan sa Pangulong Duterte kung sino mga ire-recommend ko, pero ibig sabihin naman nun, ang Pangulong Duterte pwedeng pumili anybody from one-star to three-star,” the DILG chief said.

Whoever will be chosen from the five would inherit a PNP that is among the country’s frontliners in the fight against the coronavirus pandemic.

All generals in the police force are eligible to be promoted to the police’s top post. The president may also choose a general outside the shortlist given by Año to be his next police chief.

When asked about the possible extension of Gamboa’s term as PNP chief amid the public health crisis, Año replied with: “Palagay ko naman wala na siguro kasi bawal naman ang extension kasi, so we have to follow the law,” he said. “Ang organization naman kasi dynamic, naka-lay out naman dyan ang direction plans kahit naman sino umupo diyan, itutuloy nya lang yung programs.”

Among the three-star generals and members of command group of the PNP are deputy chief for administration Lieutenant General Camilo Cascolan, deputy chief for operations Lieutenant General Guillermo Eleazar, and chief directorial staff Lieutenant General Cesar Hawthorne Binag.

Cascolan belongs to the Philippine Military Academy (PMA) Sinagtala Class of 1986, while both Eleazar and Binay belong to PMA Hinirang Class of 1987.

Cascolan will retire in November 2020, Eleazar in November 2021, and Binag in April 2021.

Meanwhile, among the two-star and one-star generals whose names might get picked on for the top police post are directorate for operations director Major General Emmanuel Licup, National Capital Region Police Office director Major General Debold Sinas, and Police Regional Office 4A director Brigadier General Vicente Danao Jr.

Both Licup and Sinas belong to the PMA Hinirang class of 1987 while Danao belongs to the PMA Sambisig Class of 1991. – RRD (from the report of Correspondent Lea Ylagan)

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