PNP should not interfere with community pantry, DILG’s Año says

Robie de Guzman   •   April 20, 2021   •   542

 

Community pantry

MANILA, Philippines – Department of the Interior and Local Government (DILG) Secretary Eduardo Año on Tuesday said that police and local government executives should not interfere with community pantries and other similar initiatives organized by private groups.

Año issued the statement following reports that some of the community pantry organizers were being red-tagged and profiled by alleged government authorities.

The DILG chief said police and local government interference should only be limited to ensuring that health protocols are being implemented.

“Since this is a purely voluntary and private initiative, we should not interfere except to ensure that minimum health standards are complied with,” Año said.

“Hence, organizers must adhere to existing laws and local ordinances especially those issued to prevent the spread of Covid-19,” he added.

Año also clarified that he did not order the Philippine National Police (PNP) to look into the community pantries around the country.

“The community pantry has been a traditional practice in our country as part of Bayanihan culture and spirit specially in the times of calamities and disasters,” he said.

“In the spirit of Bayanihan, many Filipinos have been doing selfless acts of kindness since last year.

As long as the intention is good and without political color, it should be encouraged and supported,” he added.

As to the issue of whether organizers are required to secure barangay permits, the DILG chief said that organizers should “consult with the concerned barangays if such is required.”

“The PNP and/or local officials may just come in if there is any violation of law, if there are complaints from the community, or if the organizers seek their help,” he said.

“The LGUs, barangays and the PNP are ready to provide utmost assistance to ensure orderly distribution to the public,” he added.

New PNP Chief assures no shaming, exercise for health protocol violators

Aileen Cerrudo   •   May 10, 2021

 

MANILA, Philippines — New Philippine National Police (PNP) chief PGen. Guillermo Eleazar has assured that health protocol violators will not be shamed or be forced to exercise.

Eleazar clarified that individuals who are not wearing face masks or are not wearing face masks properly will be accosted but will be sent home after proper documentation and process. Violators will be taken to the nearest police station and will be investigated before receiving proper sanctions.

Walang makukulong dahil sa hindi pagsusuot lamang ng mask. Walang masasaktan. Walang mag- eexercise. Walang ipahihiya (No one will be imprisoned just because of not wearing masks. No one will be hurt. There will be no exercise. There will be no shaming),” he said.

If violators will be fined, Eleazar said, they will be given a ticket. If they will do community service, it will be scheduled. Violators will not be charged unless necessary.

Eleazar said the PNP will coordinate with the local government to make sure the city has holding facilities so as not to crowd police stations.

Ang bilin ko sa inyo, ang bilin ni Department of the Interior and Local Government (DILG) Secretary Eduardo Año bago kayo mag-arestuhan tingnan nyo muna kung may paglalagyan kayo sa inyong opisina. Dahil ang ayaw naman natin kapag inaresto niyo iyan ay kumpol kumpol pa doon. So coordinate with your local government unit at barangay (My directive, as well as the directive of DILG Secretary Eduardo Año is, before any arrest, make sure there is a place in your office where you can put them. We don’t want them to cramp in one area once arrested. So, coordinate with your local government unit and the barangay), he said. -AAC (with reports from Lea Ylagan)

Año warns 20 LGUs over illegal, unreported, unregulated fishing in municipal waters

Marje Pelayo   •   May 10, 2021

MANILA, Philippines – The Department of the Interior and Local Government (DILG) issued stern warnings to 20 local government units (LGUs) for illegal, unreported, and unregulated fishing (IUUF).

DILG Secretary Eduardo Año also reminded the 20 LGUs “to exercise their mandate and responsibilities, under the Philippine Fisheries Code” and to inform the DILG about the number of illegal, unreported and unregulated fishing committed within their jurisdictions or face administrative sanctions.

“Despite the pandemic, we want to remind LGUs of the protection of our aquatic resources which, unfortunately, is still an issue in the country,” he said.

“Para sa 20 pamahalaang lokal na ito na ating pinadalhan ng warning, mahigpit ang ating paalala na pangalagaan ang ating mga karagatan,” he added.

Año stressed that IUUF can cause a serious decline in fisheries resources, and can negatively impact food security and livelihood of coastal communities and fisherfolk thus it has to be closely monitored by the LGUs.

Using the Visible Infrared Imaging Radiometer Suite (VIIRS) technology, a satellite that can detect artificial light sources or superlight, the highest number of IUUF violations were registered in the following areas:

Tongkil, Sulu (2,549)
Zamboanga City, Zamboanga Del Sur (2,446)
Milagros, Masbate (1,595)
Cawayan, Masbate (1,350)
San Pascual, Masbate (1,193)
Languyan, Tawi-tawi (1,057)
Calauag, Quezon (1,009)
Hadji Mohammad Ajul, Basilan (973)
Linapacan, Palawan (959)
Carles, Iloilo (762)

Also included in the top 20 LGUs are Cuyo, Palawan; Santa Cruz, Marinduque; Madridejos, Cebu; Coron, Palawan; San Jose, Occidental Mindoro; Taytay, Palawan; Magsaysay, Palawan; Catbalogan City, Samar; Cavite City, Cavite; and, Quezon, Quezon.

According to Año, the LGUs that received warnings are the top 20 with the highest number of violation on the use of superlight and other artificial light sources which is used to attract fishes during nighttime.

The use of these artificial light sources is prohibited under Section 98 of the Republic Act No. 8550, as amended by Republic Act No. 10654 or the Philippines Fisheries Code of 1998.

The DILG Chief urged LGUs to implement DILG Memorandum Circular (MC) No. 2018-59 which requires LGUs to regulate and monitor fisheries activities and strictly enforce the provisions of the amended Fisheries Code.

He assured that the DILG, through its Fisheries Compliance Audit (FishCA), is committed to monitoring LGUs’ fulfillment of responsibilities under the code and emphasizes the need for effective management of municipal waters for biodiversity conservation and food security.

LGUs failing to enforce mass gathering restrictions to face raps — DILG

Robie de Guzman   •   May 10, 2021

MANILA, Philippines — The Department of the Interior and Local Government (DILG) warned to file raps against local government units (LGU) that will fail to strictly enforce prohibition or limitation on mass gatherings under community quarantine classifications being enforced in the country.

The DILG issued the statement following President Rodrigo Duterte’s directive to strictly enforce the face mask policy and other health protocols to curb the transmission of COVID-19.

“Local government units have a critical role in enforcing mass gathering regulations as they are nearer to their constituencies compared to the national government,” DILG Secretary Eduardo Año said in a statement on Sunday.

“What local chief executives (LCE) can do is to adopt and implement guidelines and policies of the Inter-Agency Task Force (IATF) as well as enact necessary local policies to support these regulations,” he added.

In line with the President’s directive to the DILG, Año issued DILG Memorandum Circular (MC) No. 2021-050 reminding all LCEs that they will be sanctioned if found violating any of the prohibitions contained under the IATF Omnibus Guidelines on the Implementation of Community Quarantine in the Philippines with Amendments as of April 15, 2021, which provides for the prohibitions and limitations on public and mass gatherings.

Any violation of the prohibitions in the Omnibus Guidelines shall constitute non-cooperation of the person or entities which is punishable under Section 9 paragraph (d) or (e) of Republic Act No. 11332 and its Implementing Rules and Regulations (IRR).

Failure on the part of local officials to enforce IATF resolutions may lead to charges filed against them for dereliction of duty based on Article 208 of the Revised Penal Code. Administrative sanctions may likewise be imposed on them under the Local Government Code.

“Maaaring administrative complaint or criminal case ang isampa laban sa pabayang LCEs. Hindi po gusto ng DILG na dumating sa puntong gawin ito kaya sana ipatupad nang maayos ng LGUs ang polisiya sa mass gatherings ayon sa quarantine classification sa kanilang lugar,” Año said.

The DILG chief also reminded all LGUs to exercise their power of supervision over their component LGUs.

“The LGU through its Sanggunian, at the instance of a concerned LCE, may hear any complaint for violation, misconduct, and/or dereliction of duty of lower LGU officials and impose sanctions as may be allowed by existing laws against an erring official,” he said.

Año has also directed the Philippine National Police (PNP) to strictly enforce all applicable guidelines and policies of the IATF especially on the prohibition on mass gatherings.

“The PNP should assist LGUs in the enforcement of all policies, laws both national and local, relative to the curtailment of the spread of COVID-19,” he said.

Citizens may also file complaints to their local DILG Regional Offices regarding the failure of their LGUs to implement mass gathering regulations by emailing or calling the nearest DILG Regional Office or field office or the DILG Emergency Operations Center (EOC) at dilgeoc.complaint@gmail.com and telephone number (02) 8876-3454 local 881 to 884.

“Don’t hesitate to lodge your complaints through your local DILG ROs so that appropriate actions may be taken upon verification,” the DILG said.

Under the IATF Omnibus Guidelines as of April 15, 2021, gatherings outside residences and gatherings at residences are prohibited in areas under Enhanced Community Quarantine (ECQ), Modified Enhanced Community Quarantine (MECQ), and General Community Quarantine (GCQ), but allowed up to 50% of seating or venue capacity for areas under Modified General Community Quarantine (MGCQ).

Gatherings for the provision of government services and authorized humanitarian activities are allowed in all areas under ECQ, MECQ, GCQ, and MGCQ.

Meanwhile, religious gatherings under ECQ are prohibited but religious services may be conducted through online video recording and transmission. Under MECQ, religious gatherings are allowed up to 10% but may be increased to 30% of seating capacity, subject to LGU regulations.

Under GCQ, it is allowed up to 30% but may be increased to 50% of seating capacity, subject to LGU regulations. In areas under MGCQ, it is allowed up to 50% of seating capacity, limited to religious worship or service and subject to LGU regulations.

Meanwhile, LGU-initiated gatherings in areas under ECQ, MECQ, and GCQ are limited to gatherings that are essential for the provision of health or government services or humanitarian activities and are subject to prior authorization from the appropriate government agency or instrumentality.

In areas under MGCQ it is allowed for any activity up to 50% of seating or venue capacity in compliance with ventilation standards set by the DOLE. – RRD (with details from Correspondent Rosalie Coz)

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