MANILA - More than 200 barangay chairpersons allegedly involved in anomalies in the distribution of the Social Amelioration Program (SAP) aid during the COVID-19 pandemic are either facing charges or have been suspended, Interior and Local Government Sec. Eduardo Año said Thursday.
Año said 183 barangay heads are currently facing charges while 89 have already been suspended.
The Department of Interior and Local Government (DILG) received 781 complaints, involving 1,259 suspects. It has also conducted 363 investigations, according to Año.
He also said he has issued show-cause orders to 10 mayors who were not in their municipalities when super typhoon Rolly hit the country.
Cell tower permits
Meanwhile, Año said the government has approved more than 2,000 applications for cell tower construction permits.
He said they have approved 815 more applications, bringing the total permits to 2,082.
There are still 637 pending applications, Año added.
After Duterte had threatened to shut down telcos if no improvements in internet connectivity are made by December, Globe Telecom President and CEO Ernest Cu earlier revealed that it takes about 28 to 30 permits and over 8 months to build just one tower.
The permitting woes are on top of miscellaneous fees collected by local government units, including tower fees and special use permits, Cu said.
The President reiterated his warning that he will go after local government officials if they are found guilty of hampering construction of cell sites in the country.
Earlier, the head of the Anti-Red Tape Authority (ARTA) said telcos with complete applications for building towers will be automatically approved if local government units or agencies of the national government fail to act within 7 days.