DILG: No travels, leaves of absence for local officials during disasters
MANILA, Philippines – The Department of the Interior and Local Government (DILG) has imposed a new rule that would ensure that local officials are in their respective areas in times of disasters or calamities.
Interior Secretary Eduardo Año ordered the revocation of officials' travel authorities and leaves of absence when there is an incoming and ongoing disaster.
Año issued the order through a memorandum dated January 4. It was apparently prompted by the controversial absence of some officials from Cagayan and the Cordillera Administrative Region (CAR) in their areas as Typhoon Ompong (Mangkhut) was about to make landfall in their province in September 2018. (READ: On eve of Ompong landfall, Cagayan officials tour Palace upon Bong Go invite)
In September last year, the DILG had ordered 16 mayors from Cagayan and CAR to explain why they were not in their respective areas during the onslaught of Ompong. On Tuesday, the DILG said 5 of these mayors may face administrative charges before the Office of the Ombudsman.
"As we are guided by law, we will exercise it to its full extent to ensure that local chief executives are where they are expected to be in times of disaster or calamities," DILG Spokesman and Assistant Secretary Jonathan Malaya said in a statement.
The memorandum covers local chief executives or governors, mayors, and barangay captains. However, the DILG also banned the travel of the following officials:
- Vice mayors
- Provincial board members whose chairmanship is peace and order and crisis management, social welfare and development, women, youth, children, indigenous peoples, and disaster and risk reduction management
- Local Risk Reduction Management Officers
These officials, the DILG said, play a crucial role in mobilizing their localities during disasters. Should they violate the memorandum, the officials could be suspended over conduct unbecoming of an official or acting contrary to the interest of the public. (READ: The role of LGUs, local councils during disasters)
“Public service must always be a priority. Sa panahong mas kailangan sila ng kanilang constituents, dapat ay nandoon sila para umalalay at gumabay (In the time when they are most needed by their constituents, they should be there to help and to guide),” Malaya added. – Rappler.com