THE Department of the Interior and Local Government (DILG) is no longer allowing local chief executives (LCEs) to travel during typhoons and other emergencies or disasters.
Secretary Eduardo Año has informed mayors, governors and other local government officials that their approved travel authorities and leave of absence are immediately recalled in case of a disaster in their jurisdiction.
Año said this is to ensure that mayors and other LCEs will no longer be “missing in action” during calamities.
A total of 16 Northern Luzon mayors were made to explain why they were nowhere to be found during the onslaught of Typhoon Ompong in September last year.
Five of them are facing cases before the Office of the Ombudsman while six were admonished by the DILG for being absent when they should be on top of the situation.
According to DILG Assistant Secretary and Spokesperson Jonathan Malaya, the filing of cases against the five mayors were based on the findings and recommendations by a validation team which found their explanations “inadequate and unjustified.”
He identified them as Mayor Eduarte of Tayum, Abra; Mayor Luspian of Mankayan, Benguet; Mayor Chiyawan of Natonin, Mt. Province; Mayor Limmayag of Sadanga, Mt. Province and Mayor Ruma of Rizal, Cagayan.
Those who were issued admonition or warning by the DILG Secretary are Mayor Seares of Dolores, Abra; Mayor Salazar of Lasam, Cagayan; Mayor Turingan of Enrile, Cagayan; Mayor Villacete of Piat, Cagayan; Mayor Carag of Solana, Cagayan; and Mayor Mamba of Tuao, Cagayan.
Under the Local Government Code, the provincial governor, city mayor, and municipal mayor should carry out emergency measures as may be necessary during and in the aftermath of man-made and natural disasters and calamities.
Malaya said that the DILG as the approving authority for foreign travel authorities and leaves of absence of local government officials or employees shall recall the issued travel authority in case of natural or man-made disaster and/or calamities.
Local chief executives, he added, should be physically present in their respective stations especially during times of disasters as chairpersons of their respective local disaster risk reduction and management (DRRM) committees.
“They must personally oversee their local disaster management preparations and operations,” Malaya said.
He added, “public service must always be a priority. Sa panahong mas kailangan sila ng kanilang constituents, dapat ay nandoon sila para umalalay at gumabay.”