DILG orders creation of special police probe team for ex-Pangasinan Gov. Espino ambush

Robie de Guzman   •   September 13, 2019   •   529

The vehicle that former governor and congressman of Pangasinan Amado Espino, Jr. was riding in when he was ambushed on September 11, 2019 | 📷 Senator Richard Gordon Twitter

MANILA, Philippines – Department of the Interior and Local Government (DILG) Secretary Eduardo Año on Friday ordered for the creation of a special police team investigation for the ambush on former Pangasinan Governor Amado Espino Jr.

In a statement, Año strongly condemned the “villainous act,” which he says “undermines the resolute efforts of our law enforcers to ensure peace and order.”

“I have already given specific instructions to the Philippine National Police (PNP) to immediately create a team to probe the incident and track down the culprits responsible for this crime,” he said.

Based on initial reports, Espino and his companions were on board two vehicles when they were peppered with bullets by still unidentified gunmen while they were traversing Barangay Magtaking in San Carlos City on Tuesday (Sept. 11).

Espino and four of his aides, namely Agapito Cuizon, Kevin Marfori, their driver and police security escort Staff Sergeant Jayson Malsi and retired policeman Anthony Columbino survived the ambush but another police escort, Staff Sergeant Richard Esguerra, died in the incident.

Año said police operatives are now scouring several areas in the province to track and arrest the gunmen. Investigators are also following possible leads on the motive behind the attack.

Police earlier reported its has recovered the getaway vehicles used by the suspects. A red Hyundai Elantra and a grey Ford Everest were found abandoned in Barangay Cobol and Barangay Pasima, respectively.

Several long firearms were also found inside the vehicles.

“We will give you updates on the results of the investigation by the police. We want to get to the bottom of this as soon as we can,” Año said.

The DILG Chief has expressed his condolences to the family of Staff Sergeant Esguerra and assured the government will provide them with special financial assistance package as well as other types of assistance for killed-in-action, wounded-in-action police officers under the Comprehensive Social Benefits Program.

Malacañang earlier condemned the ambush on Espino and vowed that the government will spare no effort in finding and bringing the perpetrators to justice.

Duterte to meet with AFP, PNP commanders following Jolo incident

Robie de Guzman   •   July 2, 2020

MANILA, Philippines – President Rodrigo Duterte is set to fly to Mindanao to meet with top officials of the Philippine National Police (PNP) and the Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) in the wake of the killing of four soldiers by policemen in Jolo, Sulu last Monday, Interior Secretary Eduardo Año said Thursday.

Año, however, did not disclose the date and place of the president’s upcoming meeting with police and military commanders.

The Interior Secretary, who supervises the PNP, also said that Duterte may possibly talk to nine policemen involved in the shooting of soldiers.

“The president is going to the south to talk to our PNP and AFP commanders, sabi ko nga kung may time pa siya ay kakausapin niya yung mga suspek,” Año said.

Malacañang said the president was saddened by the incident between the police and military officers.

He has also ordered for the National Bureau of Investigation to expedite the release of its probe findings.

The Palace also denied that the incident is the result of the alleged state-sponsored extrajudicial killings under the Duterte administration as claimed by former Senator Antonio Trillanes IV.

“Hindi po natin kinukunsinte ang patayan kaya nga po masinsinang imbestigasyon ang ginagawa natin dito sa pagpatay sa 4 na sundalo sa hukbong sandatahan,” Presidential Spokesperson Harry Roque said.

Año echoed Roque’s statement as he assured that those responsible for the Jolo incident will be held accountable.

“Extrajudicial killing is not the policy of this government and the Sulu incident, we will exact justice and make sure those responsible shall be accountable, umasa kayo diyan. Ako mismo ang personal na nag-follow up ng kaso,” he said. – RRD (with details from Correspondent Rosalie Coz)

DILG tells LGUs to help DepEd enforce ‘new normal’ learning delivery in public schools

Robie de Guzman   •   June 30, 2020

MANILA, Philippines – The Department of the Interior and Local Government (DILG) on Tuesday urged local government units (LGU) to assist public schools in their respective areas and support the Basic Education Learning Continuity Plan of the Department of Education (DepEd).

In a statement, DILG Spokesperson and Undersecretary Jonathan Malaya said LGUs should use the special education fund (SEF) to support the localization of DepEd’s learning continuity plan and to assist public schools in their areas in adjusting to the ‘new normal’ in learning delivery modalities.

Malaya said local chief executives should immediately convene their respective local school boards to discuss which of the new learning modalities identified by the DepEd can be utilized in their respective areas.

They should also tackle allocations for the SEF, as well as identify and provide the necessary support to their teachers and learners, stressing that there is only less two months left before the next school year starts.

“In a crisis, we need all the help that we can get at ang SEF ay tulong na itinatadhana ng ating batas para sa pagpapanatili ng matibay na pundasyon at kalidad ng edukasyon sa ating bansa,” Malaya said.

“Hinihikayat natin ang LGUs na gamitin ito ngayong malaki ang kinakaharap na pagsubok ng ating sektor ng edukasyon,” he added.

Under the Local Government Code, the local school board (LSB) is a body created on the provincial, city, and municipal levels that determines the supplementary budgetary allocation the LGU can provide for the operation and maintenance of public schools nationwide, among others.

Section 272 of the Local Government Code states that “the proceeds from the additional one percent (1%) tax on real property accruing to the SEF shall be automatically released to the LSBs.”

Malaya said that the board’s function in providing support to public schools will be a big help in the implementation of the learning continuity plan this school year which “will be more challenging in comparison to the previous ones.”

“We may have a lot on our plate nowadays pero hindi natin kailanman dapat kalimutan ang edukasyon ng ating mga kabataan,” he added.

The DILG spokesperson also urged LGUs to assist in the enrollment activities by providing kiosk or center in the barangay for the distribution and collection of enrolment forms of learners in public schools in their respective areas and assisting schools in the delivery and collection of printed modules from the homes of the students.

DILG to issue show cause order vs. barangay execs over Cebu City street procession

Robie de Guzman   •   June 29, 2020

MANILA, Philippines – The Department of the Interior and Local Government (DILG) on Monday said it will issue a show cause order against barangay officials who are allegedly involved in the conduct of a street dance and procession in Barangay Basak San Nicolas in Cebu City despite the enforcement of enhanced community quarantine against novel coronavirus disease (COVID-19).

In a statement, DILG Secretary Eduardo Año said he also directed the Philippine National Police-Criminal Investigation and Detection Group (PNP-CIDG) to investigate and file charges against the organizers of the said event.

“We will not tolerate any violation of our quarantine protocols. Those responsible will be made to account. Hindi din naman tayo tumitigil sa pagpapaalala na napakalaki ng risk of transmission ng COVID-19 sa mass gathering and yet we see these kinds of activities and what makes it worse ay ang barangay na ito ay isang COVID-19 hot spot,” Año said.

“We will definitely get to the bottom of this. We have issued a show cause order against the officials who are involved in this blatant violation of the ECQ currently being implemented in Cebu City,” he added.

Año expressed his disappointment and frustration over the incident because the organizers still pushed for the event even if the said barangay is among the COVID-19 hotspots in the city.

Reports reaching the DILG stated that hundreds of people flocked to the street of Sitio Alumnos in Barangay Basak last June 27 to participate in a street dance and procession, which is in violation of the rules prohibiting mass gathering during community quarantine.

“We need people to practice discipline. They should know better dahil ang Cebu City ang may pinakamaraming kaso, dapat sila ang mas maingat,” the DILG chief said.

“We have nothing against the expression of devotion but in a time of crisis, kailangan mag-isip din naman tayo. Sa ganitong mga pagsuway mas maraming buhay tayong nilalagay sa kapahamakan. Disiplina Muna!” he added.

Barangay Basak San Nicolas is one of the 12 barangays in Cebu City placed under strict lockdown due to the high number of recorded COVID-19 cases based on the report of the Inter-agency Task Force for the Management of Emerging Infectious Diseases.

Other barangays under lockdown include Sambag Dos; Kamputhaw; Sambag Uno; Mabolo; Guadalupe; Lahug; Duljo; Tinago; Tisa; Ermita; and Tejero.

According to the Department of Health, Cebu City has a total of 4,562 total cases as of June 28, 2020; of which 3,892 are active cases, 592 have recovered, and 78 died.

Año said that the DILG is expecting to hear the explanation of the involved local leaders on why no criminal and administrative cases should be filed against them.

The DILG chief also confirmed that a separate investigation on 21 barangay officials and individuals is also being conducted by the PNP-CIDG.

In a Facebook post, officials of the said barangay denied any involvement in the alleged mass gathering, saying that they did not authorize the conduct of the street dance and Sinulog procession but why they did not use their legal authority to stop the event from happening was not sufficiently explained.

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