Nationwide road-clearing ops to resume on Nov. 16 – DILG

Robie de Guzman   •   October 28, 2020   •   235

MANILA, Philippines – The Department of the Interior and Local Government (DILG) on Wednesday directed local government units (LGU) to resume their road-clearing operations after more than seven months of suspension due to the coronavirus pandemic.

DILG Secretary Eduardo Año said the resumption of road clearing operations will officially start on November 16, depending on the quarantine classification of LGUs.

LGUs will have about two months or until January 15, 2021 to comply with the directive, he added.

“We hope that the LGUs, despite the COVID-19 pandemic, will show the same enthusiasm and positive results that they were able to achieve last year as we aim for safer and accessible roads free from illegal and potentially hazardous encroachments,” Año said in a statement.

“Despite the January 15 deadline, we wish to remind the LGUs that road-clearing operation is year-long endeavor, kaya kailangan natin ang kanilang commitment at pakikiisa,” he added.

Under DILG Memorandum Circular 2020-145, Año said that the resumption of road-clearing operations will vary, in different degrees, depending on the quarantine classification of a certain area.

Areas under modified general community quarantine (MGCQ) levels should render full implementation of road clearing operations.

Those under general community quarantine (GCQ) will execute the partial implementation of the program while the road-clearing efforts in areas under modified enhanced community quarantine (MECQ) and ECQ will remain suspended.

Early this week, President Rodrigo Duterte placed the entire National Capital Region and other areas of the country under GCQ for the whole month of November with no region in the country placed under the strictest community quarantine classification.

Under the DILG memorandum, road obstructions such as vehicular terminals except in areas designated by the LGUs; vending sites; house encroachments that obstruct the right-of-way; debris, waste materials, and other junked items, among others must be cleared off roadways.

Structures or obstructions erected for locally stranded individuals must also be removed upon return to their intended destination.

Parked ambulance and public emergency vehicles; checkpoints established by IATF, LGUs, PNP, and AFP; and temporary obstructions caused by the establishment of bike lanes, however, are exempted from removal, the DILG said.

Año said that results of road clearing efforts conducted by the LGU will be subjected to validation from January 18 to 22, 2021.

The DILG chief reiterated that LGUs that will fail to comply with the presidential directive will face administrative charges.

In his State of the Nation Address last year, Duterte ordered the DILG and LGUs to reclaim all public roads being used for private ends.

The road clearing operations were suspended in March in line with efforts to contain the spread of COVID-19.

DILG, DENR launch crackdown vs. illegal logging, quarrying

Marje Pelayo   •   December 2, 2020

MANILA, Philippines — The Department of the Interior and Local Government (DILG) and the Department of the Environment and Natural Resources (DENR) are collaborating to enforce President Rodrigo Duterte’s directive to stop illegal logging and quarrying operations.

In a statement released Tuesday (December 1), DILG Undersecretary and Spokesperson Jonathan Malaya said the DENR and the National Illegal Logging Task Force composed of DILG, the Philippine National Police (PNP), and the Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) are set to discuss the implementation of new environmental protection strategies.

Malaya also expressed the Department’s support for the National Greening Program (NGP) of the DENR which promotes reforestation of 1.2 million hectare-forest lands by 2022.

“The DILG commits to mobilize the LGUs, the PNP, BFP and BJMP to meet the goal of the NGP to rehabilitate the unproductive, denuded, and degraded forest lands of the country by engaging local communities in the DENR’s reforestation program,” he said.

“We will also work with civil society organizations to plant more seedlings for our forests to grow again,” he added.

President Duterte’s order came in the aftermath of typhoons which caused massive flooding in Luzon particularly in areas of Rizal, Cagayan and Isabela. MNP / Rhussel Egano

LGU ordinance, kailangan sa pagpasok ng mga menor de edad sa mall – DILG

Robie de Guzman   •   December 1, 2020

MANILA, Philippines – Hinimok ni Department of the Interior and Local Government (DILG) Secretary Eduardo Año ang mga lokal na pamahalaan na maglabas ng ordinansa para payagan ang mga menor de edad sa loob ng mga mall sa general community quarantine (GCQ) areas.

Ginawa ni Año ang pahayag kasunod ng rekomendasyon na payagan nang lumabas ang mga menor de edad sa gitna ng novel coronavirus disease (COVID-19) pandemic.

Una nang sinabi ng DILG chief na maaaring pumasok sa loob ng mga mall sa GCQ areas ang mga menor de edad na 15 anyos pababa basta’t kasama ang kanilang mga magulang.

Ngunit kailangan aniya itong pagtibayan ng ordinansa, lalo na ng bawat lungsod sa Metro Manila.

“Ito po ay pagtitibayin sa mga ordinansa ng ating mga NCR (National Capital Regions) mayors sa lugar po ng GCQ (General Community Quarantine)” ang wika ni Año.

Paglilinaw naman ni Trade and Industry Secretary Ramon Lopez, limitado lamang ang aktibidad na maaaring gawin ng mga menor de edad sa loob ng mall gaya ng pagbili ng pagkain at iba pang mahahalagang bagay.

Ayon kay Lopez, ito ay bahagi ng mga hakbang ng pamahalaan upang muling pasiglahin ang ekonomiya na nalugmok sa gitna ng pandemya.

Samantala, sinabi naman ng Philippine National Police (PNP) na hihintayin nila ang ilalabas na ordinansa ng mga lokal na pamahalaan bago nila payagan ang mga menor de edad na makapasok sa loob ng mga mall.

“Kailangan pagtibayin yan ng isang ordinansa. Sa meeting namin ng JTF COVID Shield, pinaghandaan po namin itong recommendation ng mayors sa Metro Manila at kaugnayan din natin si NCRPO director para nga sa pagpapatupad nitong nirecommend nila na tinanggap naman ng IATF at inannounce na nga kagabi,” ang wika ni Lieutenant General Cesar Hawthorne Binag, ang commander ng Joint Task Force COVID Shield.

Hinimok rin ng pulisya ang mga magulang na kung maaari ay huwag nang dalhin sa mall ang mga bata hangga’t nananatili ang banta ng COVID-19.

“Nakikiusap kami na hangga’t kaya dahil wala pa po tayong vaccination e umiwas na lang po muna sana. This is to protect and prevent the disease from spreading further. Siguro kung medyo naturukan na tayo ng vaccine ay that’s the time na pwede na lumabas,” ang pahayag ni National Capital Region Police Office director Brigadier General Vicente Danao Jr.

Sinabi rin ni PNP chief General Debold Sinas na pauuwiin nila ang mga batang magtutungo sa mall habang wala pang inilalabas na ordinansa.

“Hindi namin hulihin at alamin muna ng pulis ang dahilan kung bakit nasa mall na sila at pauwiin natin sila,” ang wika ni Sinas. – RRD (mula sa ulat ni Correspondent Lea Ylagan)

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DILG orders manhunt for Tiamzon couple

Robie de Guzman   •   December 1, 2020

MANILA, Philippines – The Department of the Interior and Local Government (DILG) on Tuesday said it has ordered the Philippine National Police (PNP) to intensify the manhunt for Benito Tiamzon and his wife, Wilma who are allegedly high ranking officials of the Communist Party of the Philippines-New People’s Army-National Democratic Front (CPP-NPA-NDF).

DILG Secretary Eduardo Año issued the directive several days after the Quezon City Regional Trial Court Branch 216 sentenced the Tiamzon couple to up to 40 years of imprisonment for kidnapping and serious illegal detention charges.

The Tiamzons were also ordered to pay damages and civil indemnity to the complainant amounting to P225,000.

The cases stemmed from the abduction of Army Lt. Abraham Claro Casis with three other soldiers in Candelaria, Quezon Province. The group was allegedly held captive by members of the New People’s Army for 75 days.

“I have instructed the PNP to intensify the manhunt for these communist terrorists so that they can serve the sentence imposed on them by the court,” Año said in a statement.

“The decision of the Regional Trial Court is a great victory for the Filipino people because of their crimes against humanity. As top leaders of the Communist Party and its armed wing, New People’s Army, they kidnapped, killed, and tortured so many people and burned so many equipment,” he added.

The DILG chief believes that the Tiamzons are still in the country based on intelligence reports.

“I exerted a lot of effort in capturing them in 2014. I was then chief of ISAFP (Intelligence Service of the Armed Forces of the Philippines) when they were arrested in March 2014. I spent almost half of my career looking for this couple,” Año said.

The Tiamzon couple was first arrested by government operatives in Barangay Zaragoza, Cebu City in March 2014 after many years of hiding.

But they were released from detention in 2016 to participate as consultants in the peace negotiations between the NDF and the government in Oslo, Norway.

They were ordered re-arrested in August 2018 after the peace talks were subsequently canceled. Both have since failed to appear in court.

“They cannot run and hide forever. Sooner or later, matitimbog din sila ulit at haharapin ang mga kasalanan nila sa ating bayan. I am confident that we will see them behind bars soon,” Año said.

According to the DILG, the couple is also facing multiple murder charges over the Inopacan Massacre where a mass grave was unearthed by soldiers in 2006. The said site was purportedly where suspected military informants within the Communist terrorist groups (CTG) were purged.

CPP founder Jose Maria ‘Joma’ Sison is also a co-accused in the case.

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