5 mayors absent during Typhoon ‘Ompong’ may face admin raps — DILG
MANILA, Philippines — Five Northern Luzon mayors who were not at their posts during the onslaught of Typhoon “Ompong” in September 2018 may face administrative charges before the Office of the Ombudsman, the Department of the Interior and Local Government (DILG) said on Tuesday.
DILG Assistant Secretary Jonathan Malaya said investigation by the department found that the explanations given by the five mayors to justify their absence were “inadequate” and “unjustified.”
“Despite having knowledge of the impending typhoon and the DILG advisory, said mayors were not in their posts during the typhoon. Such act on their part may be considered as dereliction of duty, negligence, or other administrative offense. We have referred their case to the Office of the Ombudsman,” Malaya said in a statement.
The DILG added that six other mayors will be issued a written admonition from Interior Secretary Eduardo Año for not heeding the department’s advisory requiring their presence during the calamity and for their “failure to personally supervise and manage the evacuation, rescue and relief operations of their constituents on September 14, 15, and 16, 2018.”
“Secretary Año‘s directive was very clear. The physical presence of the mayor in his area of responsibility is crucial; his absence adversely affects the operation of the LGU and it is their constituents who suffer,” Malaya said.
Meanwhile, the DILG has referred to its regional offices the explanation of four other mayors that needed revalidation.
Of of the 16 mayors, only the explanation given by one mayor regarding his absence was found to be acceptable, Malaya said.
“While the mayor had to attend a Sandiganbayan court hearing in Quezon City on September 13, 2018, an equally urgent matter, he nevertheless managed to return immediately to his area of responsibility,” he said.
Malaya said the mayor had explained that instructions were given to officers of the Municipal Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Council (MDRRMC) before he left for his court hearing.
He returned to his town at the day of the onslaught and immediately convened the MDRRMC where he assumed command and supervision, Malaya said
“The DILG wishes to remind all local chief executives and all other local elective officials that they are considered ‘on-call’ any time of the day. That is the essence of public service. This is the reason why they do not have fixed working hours because doing so would limit their service to the public to the prejudice of their constituents,” said Malaya. /muf
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