16 mayors under probe for absence during Ompong onslaught

Patrick Quintos, ABS-CBN News

Posted at Sep 20 2018 09:28 AM

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MANILA - More mayors are now under probe for their supposed absence, despite instructions to stay in their area, during the onslaught of typhoon Ompong, an official said.

Bernardo Florece Jr., Interior undersecretary for peace and order, said 16 mayors, mostly from the Cagayan and Cordillera regions, will be investigated.

"They will be given 5 days to explain their side. We will determine if their reasons are justifiable. If not, we will file complaints before Sangguniang Panlalawigan or the Ombudsman," he told ANC.

The Department of Interior and Local Government (DILG) previously reported 10 mayors under probe for their absence during the typhoon. Florece said they will name the mayors once they have heard their side.

Florece said DILG was specific when they told mayors to stay in their areas during Ompong. He stressed that mayors should be in their area and should be on top of the situation during calamities.

Ompong, the strongest typhoon to hit the country this year so far, has left at least 81 people dead, mostly from the mountainous Cordillera region where heavy rains triggered landslides.

In a village in Itogon town alone, at least 21 bodies have been retrieved from a landslide in a mining site. Authorities expect the death toll to rise as dozens more remain missing.

The typhoon also swamped farms in Northern and Central Luzon, areas that supply vegetables and rice to Metro Manila and other towns and cities.