DILG orders PNP to continue apprehending curfew violators amid ECQ
Robie de Guzman • March 31, 2020 • 641
MANILA, Philippines – The Department of the Interior and Local Government (DILG) has ordered the Philippine National Police (PNP) to continue its arrest of curfew violators amid the enforcement of Luzon-wide enhanced community quarantine (ECQ) against novel coronavirus disease (COVID-19).
The order follows the activation of the online inquest proceedings of the Department of Justice (DOJ).
In a statement, DILG Secretary Eduardo Año said he has discussed the matter with PNP chief General Archie Gamboa, who instructed the Joint Task Force (JTF) COVID Shield to continue apprehending those disobeying community quarantine protocols imposed by the government.
The JTF COVID Shield is the enforcement arm of the Inter-Agency Task Force for the Management of Emerging Infectious Diseases.
It is composed of the Philippine National Police, Armed Forces of the Philippines, Philippine Coast Guard, and the Bureau of Fire Protection.
“To be lenient now on curfew violators will go against the very purpose of the ECQ which is to stop the movement of people and only allow essential personnel to break curfew,” Año said.
“Marami pa rin tayong pasaway na mga kababayan. The only way they will follow the law is if we make arrests,” he added.
The DILG said a total of 42,826 curfew violators were apprehended in the first 11 days of the enhanced community quarantine, from March 17 up to March 27. Of this number, 12,094 of them were from Metro Manila.
Año said all the apprehended violators will be taken to the nearest police stations for investigation, and filing of cases using DOJ’s e-inquest project.
The DOJ earlier said that the virtual inquest proceedings may be done using any online platform for video calls and conferences and all available electronic communications.
General rules on procedures for its conduct has been issued to the government prosecutors across the country.
In the absence of Internet connections or online facilities in the police stations, regular direct filing will be accomplished by police investigators.
“If no inquest is done within 12 hours, all arrested violators must be released immediately,” Año said, adding that cases can still be filed against them after the COVID crisis is over.
MANILA, Philippines – The Philippine National Police (PNP) on Friday said it will assess whether its Custodial Center can be reopened to visitors amid the novel coronavirus disease (COVID-19) crisis.
PNP chief Police General Archie Gamboa said they need to thoroughly study the possibility of reopening the facility because of its proximity to quarantine facilities housing police personnel infected with COVID-19 and the PNP RT-PCR test laboratory.
At present, the visitation of inmates at the PNP Custodial Center is prohibited in compliance with the safety and health protocols set by the government amid the COVID-19 pandemic.
Gamboa said they are only following the measure implemented by the Bureau of Corrections (BuCor) and the Bureau of Jail Management and Penology (BJMP) in the detention facilities in the country.
“Standard naman ‘yung sinusunod natin, together with the BuCor and BJMP. We need to reassess whether to open up sa visitors yung Custodial Center,” he said.
Gamboa’s statement comes after opposition senators questioned the PNP’s move to bar Senator Leila de Lima from accepting visitors and holding physical meetings with anyone.
The PNP chief, however, assured that De Lima is allowed to make phone calls. – RRD (with details from Correspondent Lea Ylagan)
MANILA, Philippines – The Department of the Interior and Local Government (DILG) on Thursday reminded the local government units (LGU) that they only have until May 28 to submit their liquidation reports on the distribution of the first tranche of government emergency subsidy under the social amelioration program (SAP).
In a statement, DILG spokesperson, Undersecretary Jonathan Malaya said Interior Secretary Eduardo Año issued the directive as the government prepares to release the second tranche of the cash assistance.
“As per directive of Secretary Eduardo Año, kailangang tapusin na ng mga LGUs ngayon ang liquidation report nila ng first tranche at isubmit na nila ito pati na ang encoded list of beneficiaries sa DSWD (Department of Social Welfare and Development),” Malaya said.
“Only then can we proceed with the 2nd tranche,” he added.
The DSWD earlier called on LGUs to expedite the encoding and transmittal of their liquidation reports as these would be used for the validation of beneficiaries and checking of the disbursement for the release of SAP’s second tranche.
The SAP is part of the government’s efforts to assist families heavily affected by the community quarantines due to the novel coronavirus disease (COVID-19) pandemic.
The DSWD said the validation and vetting process by its field offices can only be done when the data per LGU have been submitted in its entirety.
The department noted that the process will take approximately 15 days since validation on municipal, provincial, and regional levels takes place at the field office levels.
Based on reports from the DSWD, the DILG said only 472 out of the 1,634 LGUs nationwide have so far submitted their liquidation reports to that agency as of May 26, 2020.
Malaya said that he hopes that the payout of the 2nd tranche of SAP cash aid would be more efficient and systematic considering that LGUs must have already learned lessons and ironed out the kinks and lapses during the first payout.
“We recognize the huge difficulties encountered by LGUs in the SAP distribution of the first tranche. It is quite understandable because this is the biggest financial cash aid for poor families in the country’s history,” he said.
“Pero ngayon inaasahan namin na mas magiging mabilis na ang proseso dahil pinagdaanan na nila ito at alam na nila ngayon kung paano mas magiging maayos at sistematiko ang pamamahagi ng SAP,” he said.
Malaya also said that the Philippine National Police (PNP) will assist the DSWD and the LGUs during the distribution of the 2nd tranche in geographically-isolated and disadvantaged areas of the country.
“Nakahanda naman po ang ating kapulisan para alalayan ang DSWD at mga LGUs sa pamimigay ng ayuda sa mga malalayo at ilang lugar sa ating bansa para masiguro na matatanggap ito ng ating mga kababayan,” he said.
The DILG official also said that LGUs are likewise asked to accept returns of SAP cash aid by beneficiaries who received similar benefits from other government agencies such as Pantawid Pamilyang Pilipino Program (4Ps), Department of Labor and Employment’s COVID-19 Adjustment Measures program, and Social Security System’s Small Business Wage Subsidy program.
He said that by returning their SAP aid, these beneficiaries ensure that other families who are also in need of assistance will be given the emergency subsidy.
“Every unreturned amount means that a similar family in need is deprived of cash aid,” he said.
Malaya said that all returned cash subsidies may be given by LGUs to “left-out” families within their jurisdiction prior to liquidation, provided they are qualified to receive the SAP based on DSWD guidelines.
For cash aid returned by beneficiaries after the liquidation by LGUs, Malaya said this shall be remitted to DSWD field offices. “An official receipt must be issued to the beneficiaries as proof of refund,” he said.
Metro Manila has a possibility to transition to General Community Quarantine (GCQ) from Modified Enhanced Community Quarantine (MECQ) after May 31, according to the Malacañang.
Presidential Spokesperson Harry Roque said there is a chance that the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) restrictions might ease in Metro Manila and other parts of the country.
The Inter-Agency Task Force on the Management of Emerging Infectious Diseases (IATF-MEID) held a meeting on Wednesday (May 27) to determine if the MECQ should continue after May 31.
“Chances are we will, in fact, be transitioning to GCQ in Metro Manila, according to the chief implementer and the DILG [Department of the Interior and Local Government] Secretary,” Roque said in a statement.
The Metro Manila Council (MMC) is also recommending to the IATF to put the National Capital Region under GCQ.
Once Metro Manila transitioned to GCQ, Roque said public transportation will resume operations but will have limited capacity.
He also appealed to the private and public sectors to finalize their work scheme where 50% will resume in worksites and 50% will work from home.
“We are appealing to both private and public sectors to ensure at least 50-50 workforce,” he said. –AAC (with reports from Rosalie Coz)
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