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Anyare, mayor? 10 local execs to be probed for absence during ‘Ompong’

/ 12:39 AM September 19, 2018

Away from the typhoon’s eye, in Rizal province, displaced families in San Mateo town pack in an evacuation center in Barangay Banaba. INQUIRER photo / RICHARD A. REYES AND NIÑO JESUS ORBETA

Published: 5:17 p.m., Sept. 18. 2018 | Updated 12:39 a.m., Sept. 19, 2018

At least 10 mayors will be asked to explain their absence from their towns as their people suffered from the onslaught of Typhoon “Ompong,” the Department of the Interior and Local Government (DILG) said on Tuesday.

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More than 10 mayors from two regions on Ompong’s direct path – Cagayan Valley and Cordillera Administrative Region – could face administrative cases if found absent and negligent of their duties at the height of the storm, according to Assistant Local Government Secretary Jonathan Malaya.

Mandate

“As mandated by the Local Government Code, the presence and support of mayors in their respective areas of jurisdictions is imperative for them to carry out measures to protect their constituents from the harmful effects of disasters and calamities,” Malaya told reporters on Tuesday.

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He said mayors, who would be proven negligent, would have to submit written explanations.

The mayors, Malaya said, would have to also submit satisfactory answers to avoid disciplinary action.

The DILG did not disclose the names of the mayors pending results of an investigation using the department’s “Operation Listo” protocols.

Malaya said this was to prevent “trial by publicity.”

The mayors’ names will be disclosed after the investigation has been completed, he said.

Punishment

The protocols require mayors of towns, classified as low to high risk during a storm, to take the needed measures to prepare for disaster.

Bernardo Florece Jr., local government undersecretary for peace and order, said the department was already investigating field reports about the mayors who face either suspension or dismissal from service.

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If cases against the mayors were filed at the DILG, Florece said the officials face suspension.

But if the cases were filed at the Ombudsman, Florece said the mayors face dismissal from service.

Florece said “we were surprised” at reports reaching the DILG central office about the mayors’ absence in towns that were “part of critical areas” in Ompong’s path.

Ompong entered the Philippine area of responsibility last Wednesday and made landfall in the Cagayan-Isabela area last Saturday.

Local Government Secretary Eduardo M. Año had directed local officials to be physically present in their towns before, during and after Ompong hits.

READ: Typhoon pounds south China after killing 64 in Philippines

The provinces Cagayan, Ilocos Norte, Kalinga were placed under the state of calamity after “Ompong” hit the country.

READ: Ilocos Norte placed under state of calamity due to Typhoon ‘Ompong’

The National Disaster Risk Reduction Management Council reported on Monday that the biggest numbers of affected individuals were in Region III with 286,730 people or 69,492 families; 109,472 individuals or 27,185 families were in Region I; and 90,523 individuals or 24,863 families were in Region II, among others. /jpv /pdi /atm

READ: 600,000 people affected by ‘Ompong’ — NDRRMC

Inquirer calls for support for the victims of typhoon Ompong

Responding to appeals for help, the Philippine Daily Inquirer is extending its relief to victims of the recent typhoon Ompong.

Cash donations may be deposited in the Inquirer Foundation Corp. Banco De Oro (BDO) Current Account No: 007960018860 and Swift Code: BNORPHMM.

Inquiries may be addressed to Inquirer’s Corporate Affairs office through Connie Kalagayan at 897-4426, ckalagayan@inquirer.com.ph and Bianca Kasilag-Macahilig at 897-8808 local 352, bkasilag@inquirer.com.ph.

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