MANILA — The Department of the Interior and Local Government (DILG) issued on Tuesday show cause orders against 10 mayors who were reported "missing in action" or outside of their respective cities or towns during the onslaught of Super Typhoon Rolly (International name: Goni).
Interior Usec. Jonathan Malaya told ABS-CBN News these mayors come from Region 8, Region 5, Calabarzon, Mimaropa, Central Luzon and the National Capital Region.
Malaya said their identities have not been made public as part of due process.
“You want to give them an opportunity to reply. Baka naman nagkamali ‘yong report sa atin ng ating mga tao sa baba,” he said.
(There’s a possibility that the reports sent to us were inaccurate or false.)
The mayors will have 5 days to submit their written explanation or response.
Should the filing of administrative charges before the Office of the Ombudsman be warranted, Malaya said the officials could face negligence, dereliction of duty, grave or simple misconduct “based on the extent of failure to perform their duties as assessed by DILG."
Malaya said the report — that served as basis for the issuance of the show cause orders — came from DILG officers on the ground under the department’s local government operations, and the local police.
Under the agency’s “Oplan Listo,” local chief executives have a number of tasks to perform before, during, and after a natural calamity, in this case, a supertyphoon.
This includes the convening of the local Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Office (DRRMO), prepositioning of relief packs, and setting up of evacuation centers to achieve the goal of zero casualties as much as possible.
"Hindi naman namin sinasabi na nasa munisipyo yung mayor na nag-aantay na dumaan yung bagyo. Ang sinasabi lang namin, nandun ka sa bayan mo, na nandun ka para pwede kang takbuhan, pwede kang puntahan ng iyong DRRMO, or ikaw mismo ang umikot,” said Malaya.
(We are not saying that mayors should be inside their offices waiting for the typhoon to hit. What we want is for them to be in their respective towns so people and the DRRMO could go to them during emergencies. These mayors could also go around their towns.)
The DILG is coordinating with the National Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Council (NDRRMC) and other agencies, such as the Department of Social Welfare and Development (DSWD), to augment the capacity of LGUs.
Local executives have lamented disaster funds are depleted due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
“The Quick Response Fund, I would expect, by now, naubos na 'yun, maliban siyempre sa highly urbanized cities na madami sila pondo. But if you're talking about 3rd, 4th class municipalities, by now, ubos na 'yan. So, we are advising them on what to do. We are connecting them to the NDRRMC so that they can pass a resolution and request an augmentation with the NDRRMC para mabigyan sila ng additional tulong financially. And at the same time, we are coordinating with other government agencies — as I said, DSWD ang lagi naming kausap right now — para mabigyan ng tulong yung mga nasa evacuation centers pa rin," Malaya said.
(By now, I would expect that the Quick Response Fund has been depleted, except of course in highly urbanized cities which have a lot of funds. But if you're talking about 3rd, 4th class municipalities, by now, it's already used up... We are connecting them to the NDRRMC so that they can pass a resolution and request an augmentation with the NDRRMC so they can get additional help financially. And at the same time, we are coordinating with other government agencies — as I said, we are constantly talking to the DSWD right now — so those in evacuation centers can be given aid.)
“Ang kailangan natin of course is basic necessities, like pagkain. But also, housing materials kasi nasira yung bahay. So yero, pako, kahoy. Those are the things we are coordinating with the agencies para maipadala, especially in Bicol, para maipamigay sa ating mga kababayan who are now starting to build their lives after the super typhoon,” he added.
(We need basic necessities, of course, like food. But also, housing materials because houses were destroyed. So, roof materials, nails, wood. Those are the things we are coordinating with the agencies which we could send, especially in Bicol, and distribute to our fellow countrymen who are now starting to build their lives after the super typhoon.)
According to the NDRRMC, around 160,000 families or 645,000 people across Bicol, Calabarzon, Mimaropa, Central Luzon, Eastern Visayas and NCR were affected by the strongest typhoon by far this year.
Around 70,500 families or 269,000 individuals are still sheltered in 2,671 evacuation centers.
“Rolly” left at least 19 people dead in Bicol, and damaged around P1.1 billion worth of crops and P4.6 billion worth of infrastructure.
Malaya said it is too early to tell if the reported absence of the 10 mayors had significant impact on the preparedness of their respective localities.
PREPARING FOR SIONY
Local government units within the path of new typhoon “Siony” (international name: Atsani), meantime, have been advised to activate “Oplan: Listo”, said Malaya.
As of the latest PAG-ASA weather bulletin Tuesday night, “Siony” maintains its strength while over the Philippine Sea, east of extreme northern Luzon, with maximum sustained winds of 85 kph near the center and gustiness of up to 105 kph.
“We give them alert levels. So, naka-alert na po ang mga LGUs dun sa dadaanan ni typhoon ‘Siony’.”
(The LGUs within the path of typhoon Siony have been alerted.)