Duterte to meet with DILG, LGUs to tackle gov’t efforts vs. nCoV, ASF, other issues

Robie de Guzman   •   February 10, 2020   •   131

MANILA, Philippines – President Rodrigo Duterte will meet on Monday all local chief executives and the Department of the Interior and Local Government (DILG) to discuss government efforts against the 2019 novel coronavirus acute respiratory disease (2019-nCoV-ARD), African Swine fever (ASF), and other issues confronting the country.

In a statement, DILG Secretary Eduardo Año said the president will meet with all 1,715 local chief executives and heads of national government agencies, including Agriculture Secretary William Dar, Health Secretary Francisco Duque III, and National Security Adviser Hermogenes Esperon, Jr., among others.

Año said the chief executive called for a meeting “to call the attention of the local chief executives on various local governance concerns,” as they discuss the current public health and peace order issues in the country.

“The President will give direction on some pressing national issues such as the need for a strong local government response on the coronavirus and the recurring ASF in the country. We will hear all the answers directly from the President and the heads of national government agencies,” Año said.

The DILG chief added that the convention will also serve to synergize all efforts of the government in responding to the “most urgent predicaments on public health and peace and order” to ensure that every local government unit is in the loop with the latest steps undertaken by the national government.

He said a detailed discussion on the guidance on the proper protocol in dealing with the coronavirus as provided in the recently released DILG Memorandum Circulars 2020-018 and 023, as well as the latest update on the coronavirus are integrated into the one-day convention of local leaders.

“This is a good venue for the LCEs to raise their concerns sapagkat ang mga opisyal ng mga kagarawaran ay nandoon together with President Duterte. This is a much needed coming together of all LCEs lalo na ngayon,” he said.

The DILG chief said the meeting will also focus on the implementation of Executive Order 70 on Ending Local Communist Armed Conflicts (ELCAC).

DILG says cops on ‘narco-list’ who opted to retire early not spared from probe, charges

Robie de Guzman   •   February 20, 2020

MANILA, Philippines – Department of the Interior and Local Government (DILG) Secretary Eduardo Año said that cops included in the narco-list who opted to file for optional retirement will not be exonerated from criminal charges if they are found to be involved in the illegal drug trade.

Año made the statement Wednesday after some members of the opposition group slammed reports on the move of the Philippine National Police (PNP) to give the 357 cops included in the narco-list the option to retire early to reduce the cases for adjudication.

PNP chief Gen. Archie Gamboa earlier said he is open to optional retirement of police officers accused of having drug links to lessen the government resources that will be used when the adjudication begins.

He, however, asserted that the early retirement won’t clear the cops from allegations and that this is not an easy way out.

He added that any officer who initially availed of the early retirement option will be pursued if proven to be involved in the narcotics trade.

Gamboa recently met with most of the 357 cops and explained to them the process of the two-way adjudication to be initiated based on his request to President Rodrigo Duterte.

The process involves adjudication at the regional and directorial level for one week before the cases go to the national level which will handle the cases for three weeks.

Once all the cases are submitted to the Office of the PNP Chief, it will take three days for him to submit the results of the adjudication for approval.

Año said the 357 cops accused of having drug links should present proof to remove their names from the narco-list.

“Patunayan nilang wala silang kaugnayan sa iligal na droga. Nasa kanila ang burden of proof, iprisinta nila ang mga ebidensya na magpapatunay na wala silang kinalaman at kaugnayan sa iligal na droga,” he said.

The DILG chief said the evidence should be presented to four agencies handling illegal drug reports – the PNP, the Philippine Drug Enforcement Agency, the National Intelligence Coordinating Agency and the Intelligence Service of the Armed Forces of the Philippines.

“Hanggang hindi nagkakaroon ng pagkakasundo ang apat na ahensyang ito, hangga’t hindi nila sinasabi ng ‘Okay na yan’, magpapatuloy ang imbestigasyon,” he said.

The narco-list is a consolidation of intelligence and other reports from law-enforcement agencies and still needs to be verified and validated. Aside from uniformed personnel, the list also includes local officials and judges as well as other personalities.

Once a complaint is filed, it can be validated within a month, Año said.

He also said that the final clearance will come from the President. 

“Gusto nating maparusahan ang mga may kaugnayan sa iligal na droga” Año said. “I commend PNP Chief Gamboa for having the courage in resolving this issue na matagal ng burden ng PNP. We need to deal with this para makapagtrabaho na nang matino ang ating mga pulis,” he added.

DILG tells LGUs to strictly ban tricycles from national highways

Robie de Guzman   •   February 20, 2020

MANILA, Philippines – The Department of the Interior and Local Government (DILG) has ordered local chief executives to strictly enforce the ban on tricycles, pedicabs and motorized pedicabs on national highways.

In a statement, DILG Secretary Eduardo Año said this is part of the road clearing operations being implemented by the government.

The DILG chief stressed that tricycles and pedicabs have long been banned from plying major roads. These tricycles are also not allowed to even cross or make a U-turn on national highways.

“Local governments must review and modify tricycle routes according to the ban and are encouraged to include in their plans the construction of local roads or overpasses where the tricycles can operate,” he said.

The Philippine National Police will help local leaders enforce the ban, the DILG chief said.

Aside from enforcing the ban, Año also directed local government units (LGU) to create a tricycle task force that will draw up a tricycle route plan in their respective areas.

Through DILG Memorandum Circular 2020-036, Año said that each city and municipality tricycle task force should be separate from the tricycle regulatory boards to formulate or review its tricycle route plan.

The task force will be composed of the mayor as chairman, the chief of police as vice-chairman, while the Sanggunian’s committee chair on transportation or public safety, the president of the Liga ng mga Barangay, the head of the tricycle regulatory board, the head of the Department of Public Order and Safety, the planning and development officer, the head of the traffic management office, and the local government operations officer will be its members.

Representatives of the transportation department and its attached agencies will function as resource persons of the task force, while the head of the city or municipal legal office shall provide secretariat support.

The DILG Chief added that the task force should meet with stakeholders and rationalize all tricycle routes to enforce the ban, identify national roads within the jurisdiction of the LGU, and determine the present and proposed routes in view of drafting a tricycle route plan (TRP) within 30 days from the issuance of the memorandum.

He added that the TRP should include a schematic map of the location of tricycle terminals, the national highways and the portions thereof to be used by tricycles if there is no alternative route.

The installation of appropriate signages, marks for lanes and other safety features to guide all vehicles must also be detailed in the plan as well as create awareness among residents and motorists of new tricycle routes or portions of highways allowed to tricycles because of lack of alternative route; a color scheme or emblem for tricycles that ply a route traversing a national highway; and penalties for violators.

Non-compliance to the latest directive will warrant the issuance of a show-cause order, Año said. “Failure to provide a sufficient response shall be a ground for the filing of appropriate administrative cases pursuant to Section 60 of the Local Government Code and other laws and policies,” he warned.

He also said that compliance with the trike ban order will form part of the assessment LGUs’ compliance to the implementation of the presidential directive on road clearing.

Lacson backs gov’t move to block release of P80-B congressional realignments

Robie de Guzman   •   February 19, 2020

Senator Panfilo Lacson

MANILA, Philippines – Senator Panfilo Lacson on Wednesday revealed that at least P80 billion in congressional realignments have been withheld by President Rodrigo Duterte and the Department of Budget and Management (DBM).

In a statement, Lacson said some lawmakers tried to realign at least P80 billion from the Duterte administration’s “Build, Build, Build” program to their districts’ “pet projects” under the P4.1 trillion 2020 national budget.

But instead of exercising his veto power over the line items which could stall the approval of the budget, the lawmaker said Duterte decided to just block the release of the budget by way of a DBM circular now called “for later release,” which has the same effect of a veto.

“I support the decision of President Rodrigo Duterte and the Department of Budget and Management to withhold the release of these congressional realignments,” he said.

“This is one reason why I continue to support the leadership of President Duterte in spite of some disagreements with him over some policy issues: He has time and again displayed the strong political will, even against many self-proclaimed allies in Congress whose loyalty clearly lies where the money lies,” he added.

Lacson advised the president to “always be wary of these so-called allies” who have the propensity to praise him to high heavens and never criticize him but with self-aggrandizement and greed as their only motivation and nothing else.

The House of Representatives has yet to issue a comment on Lacson’s claim. – RRD (with details form Correspondent Harlene Delgado)

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