Roxas, De Lima on GCTA controversy: Why blame the IRR?

UNTV News   •   September 12, 2019   •   733

MANILA, Philippines – Former Department of the Interior and Local Government (DILG) Secretary Mar Roxas and detained Senator Leila de Lima have broken their silence amid reports linking them to the controversial Good Conduct Time Allowance (GCTA) law.

Roxas and De Lima were among those who drafted the law’s implementing rules and regulations (IRR).

The Office of the Ombudsman has requested Roxas and De Lima to explain why the provisions concerning convicts of heinous crimes in relation to the GCTA privilege was not clarified in the IRR.

But the former Interior chief maintained that the IRR shouldn’t be blamed just because the law wasn’t properly implemented.

In a tweet, Roxas stressed that those who approved the convicts’ release order should face the questioning, not those who drafted the IRR.

He accused his critics of passing the buck because of the controversial law.

Nevertheless, Roxas vowed to appear and cooperate in the Ombudsman’s probe.

“Apparently iimbestigahan ng Ombudsman itong (The Ombudsman will probe this) GCTA issue. Well and good, at masasagot ko kung ano man ang mga tanong nila (I will have the chance to answer their questions),” Roxas tweeted.

Meanwhile, De Lima expressed doubts over the intention behind the linking of her name to the GCTA issue when she has nothing to do with the controversy.

“I find this development highly irregular,” the lady senator said in a statement.

De Lima emphasized that the focus of the probe should be on whether or not the officials of the Bureau of Corrections (BuCor) followed the rules and reviewed the cases using the proper guidelines of releasing a convict under GCTA.

Roxas and De Lima were given three days to respond to the request of the Ombudsman.

Meanwhile, the Ombudsman has launched a fact-finding investigation to determine the alleged irregularities in the implementation of the GCTA law. — MNP (with reports from Joan Nano)

Only 8 barangays in Tagaytay under mandatory evacuation, DILG clarifies

Aileen Cerrudo   •   January 21, 2020

The Department of the Inteior and Local Government (DILG) has clarified that only eight barangays are covered by the mandatory evacuation.

In a statement, the DILG said the order to implement a mandatory evacuation in eight barangays in Tagaytay City is based on the recommendation of the Philippine Institute for Volcanology and Seismology (PHIVOLCS).

“Both the DILG and NDRRMC acted upon the strong representations of the PHIVOLCS that these barangays are susceptible to volcanic tsunami, ballistic projectiles, and base surge. So, as early as Monday, we already issued the mandatory evacuation order,” said DILG undersecretary and spokesperson, Jonathan Malaya.

The eight barangays from Tagaytay are Bagong Tubig, Kaybagal South (Pob)., Maharlika West, Sambong, San Jose, Silang Junction South, Maharlika East, and Tolentino East.

“We are not the scientific experts here, its the DOST. So, until and unless PHIVOLCS removes these eight barangays from the list of susceptible barangays, the DILG has no choice but to insist that mandatory evacuation should be implemented immediately,” he added.

Malaya reiterated that the mandatory evacuation does not cover all barangays in Tagaytay City. He also said that business establishments in other areas in city may continue their operation.—AAC

98% of residents in 14-kilometer danger zone evacuated —DILG

Maris Federez   •   January 20, 2020

Sylvestre Barba (C) listens to a radio inside an evacuation center for citizens affected by the eruption of Taal Volcano in Santo Tomas, Batangas, Philippines, 15 January 2020. EPA-EFE/MARK CRISTINO

MANILA, Philippines — The Department of the Interior and Local Government (DILG) announced that authorities have evacuated almost all of the residents in the 14-kilometer radius danger zone of the Taal Volcano.

DILG Sec. Eduardo Año said they have already evacuated 98-percent of the residents as evacuation measures are still being done for those who have yet to respond to the government’s call to leave their homes.

Año thanked the police, military and other law enforcement agency personnel for maintaining order in the affected areas in lockdown and where total evacuation is being implemented.

The official also said that they have yet to receive reports of looting and that zero-casualty is being maintained in the affected areas of the Taal eruption.

“The three cases reported in media were mainly due to the pre-existing medical condition and not directly related to the eruption,” Año said. — (with details from Lea Ylagan) /mbmf

DILG urges public to heed warning, respect Taal Volcano 14-km danger zone

Robie de Guzman   •   January 16, 2020

A man rides a horse on a street covered in volcanic ash in Talisay, Batangas, Philippines, 16 January 2020. EFE/EPA/MARK R. CRISTINO

MANILA, Philippines – The Department of the Interior and Local Government (DILG) on Thursday called on the public to abide by the 14-kilometer radius danger zone of Taal Volcano following reports of residents attempting to return to their homes in the wake of the eruption.

In a statement, DILG Secretary Eduardo Año urged the public “not to risk their safety and their lives”, heed warnings, and to follow the mandatory evacuation order issued by local authorities.

“Sumunod po tayo sa mandatory evacuation recommended by Phivolcs and imposed by the DILG. Pahalagahan ang kaligtasan at buhay ninyo bago ang inyong ari-arian,” he said.

“Sumunod po tayo sa mga autoridad at manatili sa mas ligtas na lugar habang hindi pa natatapos ang pag-aalboroto ng Taal Volcano,” he added.

Among the areas with villages within the 14-kilometer danger zone are Agoncillo, Alitagtag, Balete, Cuenca, Laurel, Lemery, Lipa City, Malvar, Mataasnakahoy, San Nicolas, Sta. Teresita, Taal, Talisay and Tanauan City, all in Batangas; and Tagaytay City in Cavite.

The DILG earlier issued an order for mandatory evacuation in 199 villages in 15 municipalities and towns in Batangas and Cavite which have been identified as susceptible to ballistic projectiles, base surges, and volcanic tsunami as a result of the eruption.

Based on the list provided by the Philippine Institute of Volcanology and Seismology (Phivolcs), 213 villages in Batangas are susceptible to base surges; 28 barangays in Cavite are exposed to a possible ballistic projectile, and 124 barangays in Cavite and eight in Laguna may experience a possible volcanic tsunami.

The DILG said that as of Thursday, evacuation efforts have been undertaken in 179 villages in both Batangas and Cavite, while mandatory evacuation works are ongoing in the rest of the villages. Only 10 percent of the residents remain to be evacuated.

DILG Spokesperson Jonathan Malaya also said that the Philippine National Police (PNP) has created a perimeter task force and set up checkpoints in all entry points to enforce the lockdown imposed in various areas in Batangas.

A special anti-looting task force was also deployed to danger zones to ensure that their properties are secure.

“We want all our evacuees to have peace of mind so we have police officers on patrol in the evacuated barangays to ensure that criminals will not take advantage of this tragedy,” he said.

Malaya also reiterated that the volcano island is strictly off-limits to residents but residents may coordinate with disaster officials if they want access to the high-risk areas.

“LGUs may allow, on a case to case basis, access to the high-risk areas but this has to be done in coordination with local disaster officials and is dependent on prevailing conditions,” he said.

The DILG earlier ordered the PNP and other concerned agencies to stop anyone from attempting to return to Taal Volcano island.

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