Año: I will supervise PNP until Duterte picks next chief

Robie de Guzman   •   December 31, 2019   •   392

President Rodrigo Roa Duterte chats with Interior and Local Government Secretary Eduardo Año on the sidelines of the 28th Bureau of Fire Protection Founding Anniversary and 118 Years of Fire Service at the Philippine International Convention Center on August 1, 2019. ACE MORANDANTE/PRESIDENTIAL PHOTO

MANILA, Philippines – Department of the Interior and Local Government (DILG) Secretary Eduardo Año has assured President Rodrigo Duterte that he will supervise the Philippine National Police (PNP) until the chief executive has chosen the next head of the country’s police force.

Año gave the assurance in response to Duterte’s order for him to lead and improve the PNP, which is currently being supervised by officer-in-charge Lt. Gen. Archie Gamboa.

“The President is still searching for a permanent Chief PNP and my job is to supervise the organization on his behalf as his alter ego, being the DILG Secretary and Chairman of NAPOLCOM. I will do my job until the President chooses the next Chief PNP,” he said in a statement issued on Monday.

The Interior Secretary also noted that Duterte is looking into the performance and conviction of the candidates for the position on various issues, particularly the government’s war against illegal drugs.

“I believe he has choices in his mind but he is closely watching the performance and conviction of of these candidates particularly on the fight against illegal drugs and professionalizing the PNP ranks,” he said.

The president earlier admitted he is taking his time in choosing the next PNP chief.

The post was vacated after former PNP chief Gen. Oscar Albayalde stepped down following allegations that he protected his men who were accused of being involved in the scheme of selling or recycling illegal drugs confiscated in a 2013 operation.

Año earlier recommended to the President three candidates for the PNP top post, namely Gamboa, PNP directorial staff chief Lt. Gen. Guillermo Eleazar and PNP deputy chief for operations Lt. Gen. Camilo Cascolan.

The PNP, for its part, said Año is in the “best position” to lead the police force, adding that he “already knows all about the PNP” as the concurrent chairman of the National Police Commission (Napolcom).

“As Chairman NAPOLCOM, Sec. Año is in the top hierarchy of the PNP Chain of Command, and is in the best position to cascade the strategic direction of the Commander-in-Chief upon the PNP,” PNP Spokesperson Brig. Gen. Bernard Banac said in a statement.

“Being the concurrent Chairman, NAPOLCOM himself, Sec Año already knows all about the PNP,” he added.

The PNP official also said they respect the president’s decision to designate Año in supervising the police force.

“The PNP under Officer-In-Charge,  PLTGEN Archie Francisco Gamboa fully respects and supports the decision of the President Rodrigo R Duterte designating the Secretary of the Interior and Local Government, Honorable Eduardo Año lead and take over the administration and control of the PNP for the meantime,” he said.

“We will now await further guidance and instructions from Sec Año and we will give him our full support,” he added.

Cops infected with COVID-19 now over 1,000 – PNP

Robie de Guzman   •   July 10, 2020

MANILA, Philippines – The number of police officers who have tested positive for novel coronavirus disease (COVID-19) has climbed to 1,006, figures from the Philippine National Police (PNP) showed.

The PNP Health Service said 25 additional infections have been reported but there were no new deaths so the total fatalities remains at nine.

A total of 455 cops have recovered from the viral respiratory disease.

The PNP Health Service said it is also monitoring 651 probable cases and 1,252 suspected cases of COVID-19.

The Philippines has so far recorded a total of 51,745 COVID-19 infections, with 12,813 recovered patients and 1,314 fatalities. – RRD (with details from Correspondent Lea Ylagan)

Passengers without confirmed flights won’t be allowed at airports, DILG says

Robie de Guzman   •   July 9, 2020

MANILA, Philippines – The Department of the Interior and Local Government (DILG) on Thursday reiterated its call on passengers not to go to the airports as they will not be allowed to go in if their flights and tickets are not confirmed.

In a statement, DILG Undersecretary and Spokesperson Jonathan Malaya said strict health protocols are being implemented in airports amid the novel coronavirus disease (COVID-19) pandemic and operations of airlines and other transportation companies are bound by these rules.

With the limited flights currently allowed to operate, Malaya stressed that “going to the airport without a confirmed flight or ticket is a waste of energy and time and will just lead to frustration.”

He advised passengers to contact the airlines to ensure that their flights are confirmed to avoid inconvenience.

He also reminded passengers that all tickets purchased prior to the pandemic have already been cancelled by the airlines and will need to be rebooked based on the new schedule of flights approved by airport authorities.

“Patuloy po ang paalala natin sa ating mga kababayan na huwag pong magpunta sa mga airport or seaports kung wala po tayong confirmed na flight,” he said.

“Mangyari lamang po na makipag-ugnayan kayo sa inyong airline kung confirmed ang inyong flight. Mapapagod lang po kayo sa biyahe at masasayang ang pera ninyo at mauuwi lang po ito sa wala,” he added.

Malaya also said that walk-in customers will not be able to purchase tickets at the airports as all flights are regulated in coordination with the airline companies.

“Even if you were issued a ticket by the airline, you will have to confirm that prior to going to the airport because there may have been some changes in flight schedules. Moreover, all tickets issued prior to the pandemic are canceled and will not be honored by airport authorities,” he said.

The Department of Transportation, through the Civil Aeronautics Board (CAB), earlier released an advisory requiring all airlines to secure accurate information, especially the contact details of all passengers, even those who purchased tickets from travel agencies, to ensure that they will be properly notified by the airlines if flights are canceled. Moreover, the said information may also be helpful in future contact tracing purposes.

The CAB also directed all airlines “to make appropriate public announcements advising individuals who have purchased tickets prior to the COVID-19 crisis that their flights are canceled and that they need to rebook accordingly.”

So far, only 29 airports nationwide are open for operation and even in airports allowed to operate, there are limited flight schedules upon the request of Local Government Units, the DILG said.

DILG tells LGUs to digitize transactions amid COVID-19 pandemic

Robie de Guzman   •   July 8, 2020

MANILA, Philippines – The Department of the Interior and Local Government (DILG) on Wednesday urged local government units (LGUs) to move towards digitized transactions to reduce contact and impede further transmission of novel coronavirus disease (COVID-19) as the country continues to fight the pandemic.

In a statement, DILG Secretary Eduardo Año called on LGUs to fast-track the issuance of permits and clearances in setting up crucial infrastructure needed for digital connectivity across the country including the construction of cell sites to improve internet connectivity.

“The millions working from home, the students looking forward to on-line learning, and the workers who depend on the digital economy are all expecting government to address the gaps in our internet infrastructure,” Año said.

“We therefore encourage all LGUs to beef up their digital platforms in their communities as we move towards the new normal,” he added.

He also said that going digital is the “call of the time,” but more than technological advancement, digitized government and consumer transactions are precautionary measures that can contribute immensely to impeding virus transmission.

In the same statement, DILG Undersecretary and Spokesperson Jonathan Malaya said that digital platforms can be an important partner of LGUs in ensuring the health and safety of the public while promoting economic growth. 

“You have to strike a balance. We must begin the economic recovery even as we fight COVID,” he said.

Malaya also noted that LGUs have a key role in bolstering the digital platform, not just in government services but also in building business and consumer confidence during these trying times.

He likewise said that LGUs must encourage businesses to veer towards online money transfer instead of physical payment as part of the new normal.

“Many businesses have now been engaging the financial services provided by major payment gateways such as Smart Padala, Gcash, PayMaya, Google, and Click2Pay that have drastically changed our experience in making online payments – from the conventional “pasaload” to a more sophisticated process of online payment,” he said.

Malaya also said that cashless payments have also helped in the fast distribution of the second batch of the Social Amelioration Program (SAP) subsidy.

The government likewise advocates the use of online payment for taxes and mandatory social contributions, such as GSIS, BIR, SSS, PagIBIG, and PhilHealth, he added.

“Despite some security issues that the government assures can be countered, online payment is also seen to reduce red tape and cost of doing business as all government agencies, through the Ease of Doing Business Act, are mandated to automate their processes including payment of taxes, fees, and charges,” he said.

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