Año asks 10 ‘missing in action’ mayors to explain

Department of the Interior and Local Government (DILG) Secretary would be asking the 10 mayors were “missing in action” during the onslaught of Typhoon Rolly in their areas of jurisdiction.

However, the DILG chief refused to drop the names of the chief local executives for now. He said two are from Northern Luzon, four are from MIMAROPA, two from the Bicol region, and another two from the Visayas.

“I cannot give their names yet until investigations are conducted, and cases are filed against them,” Año said.

“DILG will issue show cause orders to these mayors. After validating their answers, investigation may proceed,” he added.

Año that the absentee mayors could face charges for dereliction of duty and gross negligence. They could also face complaints on violating the DILG memorandum circular requiring 100% presence of local chief executives before, during, and after the typhoon.

He said that DILG issued reminders as early as Wednesday, October 28, 2020, urging local officials to prepare for Typhoon Rolly and ensure their presence in respective areas of jurisdiction during its onslaught.

Under the DILG’s Operation: Listo (awareness), Año said those who would be found absent in their areas would face penalties.

In September 2018, the DILG filed administrative charges against five mayors in northern Luzon, who were missing in action during Typhoon Ompong’s onslaught.

Año pushes for backup communication lines for LGUs

Interior Secretary wants to establish alternative forms of communications such as high-frequency radio to ensure stable communications between LGUs and the national amid disasters.

“Aside from high-tech communication systems like cellphones, satellite phones, we must have an alternate or backup systems like high-frequency radio systems that do not rely on cell sites and sophisticated relay stations but rather on a simple setup that ensure continuous communication with island or isolated local units (LGUs) during disasters and calamities,” Año said in a message to the Philippine News Agency (PNA) Tuesday.

Presidential spokesperson Harry Roque said Monday Rolly has “completely isolated” Catanduanes.

He said the province now depends on airlifted assistance and could only be contacted using satellite phones provided by the Office of Civil Defense.