Disciplinary action recommended against 20 barangay execs for violating quarantine rules: DILG

Robie de Guzman   •   June 18, 2020   •   378

MANILA, Philippines – The Department of the Interior and Local Government (DILG) on Thursday said it has recommended to the Office of the Ombudsman the imposition of disciplinary action against 20 barangay executives in Metro Manila for allegedly violating the enhanced community quarantine protocols.

“We want to send a message sa mga pasaway na barangay official that the DILG will not tolerate any violation of ECQ protocols. As government officials, we should take the lead in following the law and not in breaking it,” DILG Secretary Eduardo M. Año said in a statement

“Wala tayong sasantuhin. Patuloy ang pagtanggap natin ng mga reklamo kaya patuloy din ang pagsasampa natin ng kaso sa Office of the Ombudsman,” he added.

The DILG said that of the 20 barangay chiefs, five are from Caloocan City, another five from Quezon City; two from Parañaque City; one each from Mandaluyong, Las Piñas, Manila, Makati, Pasay, Taguig, Marikina and Muntinlupa.

The department said that their offenses involve violations in the implementation of physical distancing in engagements with the citizens of barangays, illegal cockfighting, gambling, poor enforcement of lockdown protocols as children were seen playing in the streets, negligence and gross neglect of duty, among others.

In a letter to Ombudsman Samuel Martires dated June 16, 2020, DILG Undersecretary for Barangay Affairs Martin Diño said that the 20 barangay officials were initially sent show cause orders, pursuant to Administrative Order No. 267 delegating the supervisory powers of the President to the DILG, to seek for their response to the allegations hurled against them.

Finding their response insufficient, Diño said they found enough evidence and ground to warrant their endorsement to the Office of the Ombudsman pursuant to Section 21 and 26 of RA 6770.

“Patong-patong ang mga reklamo at sumbong na natanggap namin laban sa kanila kaya sa kabila ng kanilang sagot sa show cause order ay minabuti naming ipadala pa din sa Ombudsman ang mga ebidensyang aming nakalap,” he said.

Diño assured that more complaints will be filed before the Office of the Ombudsman since the investigation is ongoing against more than a hundred barangay officials for various quarantine violations.

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)

DILG tells LGUs to start planning for local recovery even if COVID-19 crisis is not yet over

Robie de Guzman   •   August 6, 2020

MANILA, Philippines – The Department of the Interior and Local Government (DILG) on Thursday urged local government units (LGU) to start planning and budgeting for local recovery and rehabilitation even if the threat of the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) is not yet over.

In a statement, DILG spokesperson Undersecretary Jonathan Malaya said the DILG, with technical support of the World Bank, has developed the “Ready to Recover (We Rise as One) COVID-19 Local Recovery Planning Guide” to help the LGUs prepare and recover from the current public health crisis.

“We need to recover now kahit ‘di pa tapos ang COVID-19 crisis kasi mas lalala ang epekto nito sa ekonomiya at kabuhayan ng ating mga kababayan,” Malaya said.

“The DILG is collaborating with other national government agencies in the Interagency Task Force (IATF) to help LGUs prepare their recovery strategies and programs. The goal is to build back better,” he added.

Malaya said that with vast parts of the country now classified as low-risk, most of the country can now begin recovery efforts on the local level to protect jobs and stimulate economic activity. 

“With private consumption and investment still down, it is now up to the national and local governments to drive consumption and investment with government spending and policies that support the growth and recovery of local businesses,” he said.

The DILG spokesman said that the planning guide will simplify the recovery and rehabilitation planning to give LGUs flexibility in interventions as it has provided sample frameworks, templates, and suggested programs, projects, and activities.

“It will guide LGUs on the coordination of recovery efforts of national, regional, and local governments including the roles, responsibilities, and institutional structures,” he said.

Malaya also stated that LGUs need not create a new local body to do the local recovery planning and budgeting as this can be done through the creation of an economic cluster within the existing Local COVID-19 Task Force headed by a mayor or governor.

In financing the local recovery from the pandemic, Malaya said that the DILG has identified at least indicative fund source options based on existing government guidelines that can be tapped by LGUs to help address the challenges of fund availability.

He said these options include national government programs and financing assistance programs of select government financial institutions (GFIs) and government-owned and controlled corporations (GOCCs).

Other possible sources are the Local Government Support Fund – Financial Assistance to LGUs (LGSF – FA), LGSF –Assistance to Municipalities, Seal of Good Local Governance (SGLG) Incentive Fund, Kapit Bisig Laban sa Kahirapan- Comprehensive and Integrated Delivery of Social Services – National Community-Driven Development Program (KALAHI-CIDSS NCDDP), Regular Agency Budget, and the 20% Development Fund (DF), he noted.

“Hindi kayo basta iiwan na lang ng nasyunal na gobyerno. We will monitor your local recovery programs and projects and assess your progress to ensure you stay on track and achieve your intended results,” Malaya said.

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