LGUs, public warned vs extortionists pretending to be DILG execs

Robie de Guzman   •   October 28, 2020   •   145

MANILA, Philippines – The Department of the Interior and Local Government (DILG) on Wednesday warned the public and local government units of individuals allegedly posing as DILG senior officials and offering to provide emergency relief aid in exchange for money.

DILG spokesperson, Undersecretary Jonathan Malaya issued the warning following reports from the department’s regional and field offices and LGUs on receiving calls or messages from people pretending to be DILG officials supposedly arranging for COVID-19 or emergency assistance.

“Pinapayuhan po natin ang ating mga LGUs at ang publiko na mag-ingat sa mga walang hiyang mandurugas na sindikato na nagpapakilalang taga DILG at nangingikil ng pera kapalit ng umano’y ayuda,” Malaya said in a statement.

“Kahit po ang inyong lingkod ay ilang beses ng ginamit ang pangalan para makapanloko. Kailanman ay hindi tayo nanghihingi ng pera sa kahit sinong Mayor, Vice Mayor, o kapitan kapalit ng serbisyo publiko na binibigay ng DILG,” he added.

Malaya cited the report of Tuburan, Cebu Mayor Danilo Diamante who received repeated calls from someone who introduced himself as a DILG undersecretary.

Malaya said the caller asked Diamante for money supposedly to cover for the shipping of 1,500 cavans of rice to be given as assistance to his town. The caller also allegedly instructed the mayor to pin a certain SB member for alleged involvement in illegal drugs, which the latter vehemently denied.

The DILG official said the Philippine National Police-Crime Investigation and Detection Group (PNP-CIDG) has been alerted about the matter.

He also urged LGUs and the public to be wary and to verify first with the DILG if they happen to be contacted by a person claiming to be connected to the department.

“Kung sinuman sa inyo ang makatanggap ng tawag o texts sa mga taong nagpakilalang ako o sinuman sa mga DILG top officials, magsumbong o makipag-ugnayan po kayo kaagad sa pinakamalapit na police station para mahuli at maparusahan ang mga impostor na ito,” he said.

Malaya clarified that the DILG routes official communications to its regional and field offices and all LGUs via official channels and not through mere texts or calls.

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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