DILG tells PNP to fast track probe on ambush of Lanao del Sur mayor

Robie de Guzman   •   November 13, 2019   •   514

MANILA, Philippines – The Department of the Interior and Local Government (DILG) on Wednesday directed the Philippine National Police (PNP) to speed up its investigation into the ambush of Masiu, Lanao del Sur Mayor Nasser Pangandaman Jr.

DILG Secretary Eduardo Año said the PNP, in coordination with its military counterparts, should exert all efforts to ensure the immediate arrest of the suspects behind the ambush.

“The DILG condemns this atrocity which is a huge affront to the efforts of the government through our law enforcement groups to ensure peace and order in our communities. The PNP, in coordination with its military counterparts, should exert all efforts to arrest the suspects of this dastardly act,” Año said in a statement.

Pangandaman and his convoy were ambushed by unidentified men on Sunday, Nov. 10, while on their way to a council meeting.

The mayor survived the attack but his police escort, Corporal Jabbar Pangandaman was killed while two others were injured.

Following the incident, Año called for intensified security measures from police and the military such as regular foot and mobile patrols and setting up checkpoints.

The DILG chief also said that a manhunt operation has been launched against the suspects.

Investigators are also looking into possible motives behind the ambush, including “rido” or feud between warring clans in Lanao del Sur.

“The PNP is exploring several leads and interviewing witnesses so that we can easily track down the suspects behind this ambush. We assure the Pangandaman family that all hands are on this case,” Año said.

The DILG chief has expressed his condolences to the family of Corporal Pangandaman, and assured them of the government’s assistance.

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.

50 Chinese nationals arrested for illegal POGO operations

Aileen Cerrudo   •   July 7, 2020

Fifty Chinese nationals were arrested by the Makati City Police on Monday (July 6) for working in an illegal Philippine Offshore Gaming Operator (POGO) firm.

The Makati City Police conducted an operation in Barangay Pio del Pilar after receiving complaints from residents about an illegal gambling operation.

NCRPO director Police MGen. Debold Sinas said various electronic devices including laptop computers, cellphones, and wifi routers were seized in the operation.

The arrested Chinese nationals will face various charges, such as violation of the Cybercrime Prevention Act of 2012, violation of RA 10176, and violation of article 515 in relation to RA 11332, as well as the city’s general community quarantine guidelines. AAC (with reports from Lea Ylagan)

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