Gov’t to allow motorcycle back-riding for married, cohabiting couples starting July 10

Marje Pelayo   •   July 9, 2020   •   421

MANILA, Philippines – The Department of the Interior and Local Government (DILG) has allowed motorcycle back-riding for married and cohabiting couples beginning Friday (July 10) under certain conditions.

According to DILG Spokesperson Undersecretary Jonathan Malaya, a motorcycle rider must provide a protective shield in between him and his back ride and both must wear respective helmets and facemask.

“Kailangan po ito for safety purposes at for convenience na rin po. So instead na nakayakap tayo doon sa driver, dito na po tayo hahawak [This (shield) is for safety purposes and for convenience as well. Instead of directly embracing the driver, we will hold on to this],” Malaya explained as he demonstrated how to use the protective shield.

“So kailangan din solid din ito at naka-bolt o welded doon sa motor para maging safe for both individuals utilizing the motorcycle. [This (shield) must also be solid and bolted or welded on the motorcycle to be safe for both individuals utilizing the motorcycle],” he added.

Malaya said the DILG will release an official design of protective shield which shall be used as pattern for motorcycle riders.

“Ang importante lang po ay more or less ay sumunod tayo doon sa design na inaprubahan at ito po ay made of solid materials [What’s important is that we adhere to the approved design and it should be made of solid materials],” Malaya said.

Both riders must have a valid ID and a legal document that proves their relationship as a couple which may be presented at checkpoints.

“Pwede pong dalhin nila yung kanilang marriage certificate o kaya any government-issued ID na nakalagay doon sa likod na relationship at name ng mister o misis at address [They may bring their marriage certificate or any government-issued ID that bears at the back their relationship, the name of spouse and their address],” Malaya said.

However, Malaya clarifies that non-related back riders are still not allowed and violators will be apprehended and issued with citation tickets. MNP (with reports from Lea Ylagan)

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.


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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