December 8, 2023

The Department of the Interior and Local Government has forwarded to the Office of the Ombudsman administrative cases against three local officials for non-observance of the enhanced community quarantine protocols of the national government.
Sec. Eduardo M. Año said two cases have been referred to the Ombudsman, particularly against the mayor and a councilor in Sto. Tomas, Pangasinan, for holding a birthday celebration/mass gathering which violated social distancing and the prevailing curfew.
He said the case against the mayor of Buluan, Maguindanao was also referred to the Ombudsman after the local executive failed to prohibit mass gatherings in his municipality. The DILG did not receive any reply from the mayor to the show cause order issued to him, hence it was deemed he waived his right to reply.
The DILG also sent a letter of admonition and warning to a city mayor and two municipal mayors.
The city mayor from Central Luzon was admonished for holding a mass gathering when the local executive distributed Social Amelioration Program (SAP) forms to the transport sector.
The recipients who still went the next day were immediately dispersed to avoid violation. The city government later committed to the DILG that it will adopt corrective measures to avoid similar incidents.
A mayor from Western Visayas was also admonished for refusing to allow an overseas Filipino worker to be quarantined within the municipality because the seaman reportedly came from an “infected country” despite obtaining the necessary clearances from appropriate agencies. The DILG said there was no showing that the municipal government exerted effort to facilitate the return of the OFW in violation of the President’s directive to welcome all OFWs subject to health protocols.
A mayor from the Ilocos Region was also admonished for unruly behavior towards police officers assigned at a checkpoint and who was alleged to be intoxicated when it happened.
The DILG is further validating the case against a mayor in Cavite and a mayor in Batangas on the same ground of holding a mass gathering. The former is alleged to have held a flag-raising ceremony during the ECQ while the latter is reported to have distributed relief goods at a barangay hall where physical distancing was not observed.
On the other hand, DILG Usec. Jonathan Malaya said the explanation and corrective actions done by the governors of Abra, Antique, Bukidnon, and Camiguin as contained in their replies to the show cause order issued by the DILG were accepted by the department as justified.
“Hence, having found their explanations to be in order, the department has closed its investigation,” he said.
For instance, the governor of Abra initially restricted a farm company from carrying and transporting its poultry products outside the province but the company was eventually able to ship out its produce unhampered upon renewal of its corresponding Certificate of Registration Meat Transport Vehicle.
The governor of Antique initially prohibited the entry of delivery of hardware and construction materials but she eventually reissued the executive order without an express prohibition on construction material delivery and entry in the province.
The explanation of the governor of Camiguin was likewise accepted as justified.
“The DILG will continue to act on complaints received by the public and we will handle the complaints without fear or favor. In first issuing the show cause order, we ensure that due process is observed and that the side of the local chief executive is heard before we make our conclusions,” he added. – DILG release