89 Punong Barangays nationwide suspended over SAP Tranche 1 anomalies — DILG

Maris Federez   •   September 12, 2020   •   671

MANILA, Philippines — The Office of the Ombudsman (OMB) has placed some 89 Punong Barangays (village chiefs) across the country on a six-month preventive suspension following the filing of complaints by the Department of the Interior and Local Government (DILG) against them for anomalies and irregularities involving the implementation of the first tranche of the Social Amelioration Program (SAP).

A statement released on Saturday (Sept. 12) said DILG Secretary Eduardo M. Año has given out directives to the respective municipal/city mayors of these barangay heads “to immediately implement the order of the Office of the Ombudsman upon receipt while the DILG regional and field officers were directed to ensure the orderly implementation of the said mass suspension.”

Año thanked Ombudsman Samuel Martires for his immediate action on the complaints filed by the Department against the erring PBs.

The statement added that the suspension would serve as a stern warning to all local government units that the Department will not tolerate any wrong-doing on their part.

“Naway magsilbing babala ang suspensiyon na ito sa iba pang mga lokal na opisyales. Ang katiwalian ay walang puwang sa ating pamahalaan lalong-lalo pa ngayong panahon ng pandemya,” Año said.  

DILG cited the OMB Order dated September 2, 2020, which said that “the evidence on record shows that the guilt of these punong barangays is strong and the charges against them involve Serious Dishonesty, Grave Misconduct, Abuse of Authority and Conduct Prejudicial to the Best Interest of the Service which may warrant removal from the service.”

DILG Undersecretary and Spokesperson Jonathan Malaya said that the suspension of the 89 Punong Barangays is “the first such mass suspension in the history of the country.”

He added that such “is just the latest in a series of moves undertaken by the DILG to weed out corrupt officials in the implementation of the SAP.”

In relation to this, Malaya said that the PNP-CIDG has already filed criminal cases against 447 individuals for violations of RA 3019 (Anti-Graft and Corrupt Practices Act), RA 11469 (Bayanihan Act I), and RA 6713 (Code of Conduct of Government Officials and Employees), among others.

The DILG also reported that Region I, the National Capital Region, and Region II topped the list of with the most number of suspended PBs, while Cordillera Administrative Region and Caraga recorded the least number. Only Region XII has no suspended PBs among all regions. — /mbmf

Sec. Año supports a more relaxed quarantine restriction in Metro Manila

Marje Pelayo   •   September 13, 2021

MANILA, Philippines — Secretary Eduardo Año said the Department of the Interior and Local Government (DILG) is still studying whether or not to implement a more relaxed restriction in the National Capital Region (NCR) without discriminating against those who are not yet vaccinated.

Año, however, indicated that he is more inclined to favor downgrading the restriction in the capital saying it is about time.

“In Metro Manila, I will give my all honest opinion with the high percentage of vaccination, it’s about time to really give some additional privilege to the vaccinated. It will also encourage other people to be vaccinated,” he said.

Among those who support the relaxation of quarantine restrictions is Go Negosyo founder and Presidential Adviser for Entrepreneurship Joey Concepcion.

He said that a more relaxed restriction should now be imposed in areas where the majority of the population is already vaccinated such as in the NCR.

“I think we should move forward and really test it because how do you live with COVID if even the vaccinated will not be allowed movement,” Concepcion said.

The Metro Manila Council (MMC) said it agrees with Concepcion and even released a resolution to urge the Inter-Agency Task Force (IATF) to approve such proposal although the mayors support the strict implementation of the health and safety protocol to prevent further spread of COVID-19.

“It means that we are one with the call of Mr. Concepcion or even of the businessmen to urge IATF to consider the easing of the guidelines; however, it is subject to the study of interdisciplinary,” said MMC and Metropolitan Manila Development Authority concurrent chairman Benhur Abalos.

At present, over 50% of the NCR’s population are fully vaccinated, 80% if to include those who received their first dose.

The IATF is now finalizing the guidelines for the new quarantine classifications using the new alert level system. MNP (with reports from Rey Pelayo)

Deployment of resident ombudsmen to graft-prone agencies to start this month — DOJ

Robie de Guzman   •   September 9, 2021

MANILA, Philippines — The deployment of prosecutors and state auditors who will serve as resident ombudsmen to government agencies prone to corruption is expected to begin this month, the Department of Justice (DOJ) said Thursday.

This is after the DOJ, together with the Commission on Audit (COA) and the Office of the Ombudsman, signed a memorandum of agreement that would deputize DOJ prosecutors and COA auditors as resident ombudsmen.

Their tasks include the following:

  • Bring to host government agencies the Ombudsman’s frontline services by acting on complaints and reports against officials and employees of the said agencies
  • Serve as watchdogs and implementors or corruption prevention program
  • Monitor compliance with existing anti-graft laws and regulations

“The MOA synergizes the investigatory powers of the Office of the Ombudsman, DOJ, and COA in the implementation of anti-corruption measures, this aiding the OMB and the COA in carrying out their respective mandates while also serving as a mechanism for the DOJ to attain the objectives of the Task Force Against Corruption,” the DOJ said in a statement.

“The OMB, COA, and DOH shall jointly enter into agreements with partner agencies regarding the terms of deployment of the resident Ombudsmen, which is expected to start rolling this month,” it added.

This development comes after COA included in its report alleged “deficiencies” in the Department of Health’s use of COVID-19 funds.

The issue has prompted Congressional hearings on the utilization of DOH’s funds for COVID-19 response.

Pagpapatupad ng granular sa halip na malawakang lockdown sa mga lalawigan, pinag-aaralan na – DILG

Robie de Guzman   •   August 26, 2021

MANILA – Ikino-konsidera ngayon ng Department of the Interior and Local Government (DILG) na huwag na magpatupad ng malawakang lockdown sa mga lalawigan o rehiyon upang mapigilan ang pagkalat ng COVID-19.

Ayon kay DILG Usec. Epimaco Densing, sa halip na malawakang lockdown ay granular na lamang gagawin na naka-sentro lamang sa mga partikular na lugar na may mataas na kaso ng COVID-19.

Ibig sabihin, ang lokal na pamahalaan na ang magpapasya kung ilang lugar sa kanilang mga nasasakupan ang isasailalim sa lockdown upang mapigilan ang pagkalat ng coronavirus.

“Hahayaan po natin ang mga lokal na gobyerno at ating mga gobernardor at mga mayor na magdeklara ng mga granular lockdowns. Dito sa granular lockdowns, makakasiguro po tayo na walang paggalaw ang mga tao,” ani Densing.

Una nang sinabi ng Department of Health (DOH) na hindi na kailangan ang malawakan at mahabang lockdown period para mas mapabilis ang detection, isolation, at contact tracing ng mga nagpositibo sa COVID-19.

Ayon kay Densing, tutulungan ng national government ang mga lokal na pamahalaan sa pagbibigay ng ayuda sa mga residenteng maaapektuhan ng granular lockdown.

“Ang usapan po nito na ang national government po ay tutulong sa ating lokal na gobyerno para punan ang kanilang pangangailangan lalo na sa pagkain itong mga lugar lugar na kanilang ilalagay sa mga lockdown,” ang wika ng opisyal.

Bukod sa implementasyon ng granular lockdown, inatasan na rin ng DILG ang mga lokal na pamahalaan na maghanda pa ng mas maraming isolation facilities.

Ito’y upang mahigpit na maipagbawal ang home quarantine, at mapigilan ang hawaan ng sakit lalo na sa mga nakatira sa iisang bahay.

Bukod sa quarantine hotels, inatasan na rin ng DILG ang mga lokal na opisyal na maghanap ng mga bakanteng motel at gusali na maaring gamitin bilang isolation facilties.

“Sa ngayon po hindi maganda yung ating statistika, dahil inaabot po ng 12 araw bago po ma-isolate ang isang kumpirmado nang COVID-19 positive ayon sa talaan ng Department of Health sa aming paguusap. Gusto po nating paiikliin ito ng anim na araw,” ani Densing. – RRD (mula sa ulat ni Correspondent JP Nunez)

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