DILG’s Año defends cop in clash with foreigner in Makati village

Robie de Guzman   •   April 29, 2020   •   585

MANILA, Philippines – The Department of the Interior and Local Government (DILG) has defended the police officer involved in a clash with a foreigner in Dasmariñas Village in Makati City, saying the cop acted according to established police protocols.

“Amid all the buzz and trial by publicity going around this incident, we stand with Police Senior Master Sergeant Roland Madrona since he did his job properly. The incident was handled in accordance with established police protocols. He was just doing his job,” DILG Secretary Eduardo Año said in a statement issued on Tuesday.

Año also said Madrona “acted by the book” when he made the arrest and should not be judged solely by the video circulating online “as there were a lot more going on prior to the shooting of the video.”

“In the case of our police officer, Police Senior Master Sergeant Mardona, he did his job well and ipaglalaban ko ‘yan kahit mababang ranggo ng pulis, paglalaban natin ‘yan,” he said in a media interview.

“They were on the street, and he [Madrona] was already doing the arrest that led in front of the house. It’s allowed by the law, it’s called hot pursuit, even if the guy went inside the house, if you’re arresting somebody, you’re allowed by law,” he added.

Madrona was conducting a patrol in the village, together with Bantay Bayan personnel Esteban Gaan when he noticed Parra’s house helper, Cherilyn Escalante, watering the plants outside without wearing a face mask.

Madrona claimed he politely approached and advised the maid to wear a face mask for her safety.

The helper then went inside the house, but minutes later, Parra and his wife, Abegail Salvador went out of their residence and confronted the police officer.

In the now viral video, Parra can be seen and heard throwing foul words at the cop, and supposedly lectured him on how to implement the quarantine protocols.

The foreigner also allegedly shouted at Madrona to get off his property.

The cop tried to arrest the furious foreigner, but Parra evaded and went inside his house.

Madrona and the Makati City Police have already filed complaints against Parra on Tuesday.

Año said that in incidents like this “it is always the easiest to judge a certain situation by referencing a video, but we cannot pass a verdict na iyon lamang ang ating pinagbabasehan. Full investigation must ensue so that we can consider all the other evidences and eyewitness accounts.”

The Philippine National Police has ordered an investigation into the matter.

Año assured that the probe will be done with complete impartiality and due process.

“I am the chairman of the National Police Commission and I dismissed more than 2,000 police officers for various offenses and abuses of authority. I won’t let any policeman abuse and use his position to hurt others,” he said.

Meanwhile, Año reminded the public that during the enhanced community quarantine (ECQ), enforcement of the law is stricter as a public health measure to contain the transmission of COVID-19, even the simplest wearing of mask must be adhered to.

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.

DILG reiterates: No mass gathering during 5th SONA

Aileen Cerrudo   •   July 24, 2020

The Department of the Interior and Local Government (DILG) has reiterated that mass gathering is still prohibited even during President Rodrigo Duterte’s 5th State of the Nation Address (SONA).

The reminder was issued following numerous requests made to the department from groups who want to conduct protest rallies during the President’s SONA on Monday (July 27).

In an advisory released by the DILG, the department reminded local government units (LGU) to prohibit mass gatherings, following the directive of the Inter-Agency Task Force on Emerging Infectious Diseases (IATF-EID).

Meanwhile, the National Capital Region Police Office (NCRPO) said they will strictly monitor and will apprehend anyone who will violate the IATF policies during SONA.

“Base sa instruction and guidelines na kapag may mag-rally doon na bawal at lalo na kapag walang permit at goes beyond the authorized number, aarestuhin talaga sila, (Based on the instruction and guidelines, if a group stages a rally without a permit and goes beyond the authorized number, they will be apprehended),” according to NCRPO Director PMGen. Debold Sinas. AAC (with reports from Lea Ylagan)

3 local execs facing charges over quarantine violations – DILG

Robie de Guzman   •   July 23, 2020

MANILA, Philippines – The Department of the Interior and Local Government (DILG) on Thursday said it has filed complaints before the Office of the Ombudsman against three local officials for their alleged violations of the quarantine protocols.

In a statement, DILG Secretary Eduardo Año said two administrative complaints have been filed against the mayor and a councilor in Sto. Tomas, Pangasinan for allegedly holding a birthday celebration despite the prevailing ban on mass gathering under the enhanced community quarantine rules.

Año said the gathering violated social distancing and the prevailing curfew.

Meanwhile, the DILG also filed a complaint against the mayor of Buluan, Maguindanao after he allegedly failed to prohibit mass gatherings in his municipality.

The department said it has not received any reply to the show cause order issued to the said mayor hence he has been considered to have waived his right to reply.

“Binusisi po ng maigi ng Kagawaran ang mga natanggap na reklamo at ebidensya laban sa ilang local government officials. Base rin sa kanilang naging sagot sa show cause orders ng DILG ay napag-alamang mayroon silang naging kapabayaan,” Año said.

The DILG chief also said they have sent a letter of admonition and warning to a city mayor from Central Luzon for supposedly holding a mass gathering when distributing Social Amelioration Program (SAP) forms to the transport sector.

The DILG said the mayor has already committed to adopt corrective measures to avoid similar incidents.

A town mayor from Western Visayas was also admonished by the DILG for allegedly refusing to allow an overseas Filipino worker (OFW) to be quarantined within the municipality because the OFW was said to have come from an “infected country” despite obtaining the necessary clearances from appropriate agencies.

Año said there was no showing that the municipal government exerted effort to facilitate the return of the OFW in violation of the President’s directive to welcome all OFWs subject to local health protocols.

“Ngayong panahon ng pandemya lalong higit dapat bantayan ng DILG ang mga pamahalaang lokal sa maayos na pangagasiwa at pagpapatupad ng nasyunal na polisiya at tiyaking natutugunan ang mga daing ng mamamayan laban sa kanilang mga lokal na lider,” he said.

Also, an admonition was also issued to a town mayor from Ilocos Region for unruly behavior towards police officers assigned at a checkpoint and who was alleged to have been intoxicated when it happened.

The DILG vowed to continue handling complaints from the public about the questionable actions of local officials.

“In first issuing the Show Cause Order, we ensure that due process is observed and that the side of the local chief executive is heard before we make our conclusions,” the department said.

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