Let us buckle down to work is Interior and Local Government officer-in-charge Catalino S. Cuy's rallying call to the workforce of the DILG and its attached agencies after President Rodrigo Duterte's pronouncements in his second State of the Nation Address (SONA).
Cuy prompts the Philippine National Police (PNP) not to be lax in disrupting and exposing illegal drug cartel activities, which the President describes as the root cause of so much evil and so much suffering that weakens the social fabric and deters foreign investments from pouring in.
So far, there are still 3,568 High-Value Targets under monitoring by the PNP. And operations are getting riskier by the day, not just for the police and anti-drug enforcers but even for the military and para-military units.
With the ongoing Marawi crisis spurred by terrorist groups and the sporadic attacks by the leftist rebels, the police and military are exposed to more dangers.
"The government recognizes the delicate duty of our police and military force in the name of public service. The value placed by administration to their heroism can be reflected in the approved Comprehensive Social Benefits Program (CSBP)," he said.
The President okayed the CSBP in November 2016 to give up to P500,000 in financial assistance to beneficiaries of those killed-in-action or killed-in-police-operations. Meanwhile, those wounded-in-action or wounded-in-police-operations and obtained total permanent physical disability are given up to P250,000. In addition, there is shelter, health and educational assistance to their beneficiaries.
Beneficiaries of wounded or fallen police and military personnel may also avail of skills training, livelihood, and employment programs of government agencies under their welfare and subsidy.
Cuy also assures that the DILG and the Bureau of Jail Management and Penology (BJMP) are tightening jail security especially in Mindanao wherein, as mentioned by the President, jails are being the subject of attacks by local rebels who want to free their comrades.
On disaster preparedness, he says local government units (LGUs) are being directed to mainstream Disaster Risk Reduction�Climate Change Adaptation (DRR-CCA) in their local development planning.
According to the DILG, 1,373 LGUs have functional DRR Management Councils while 1,510 LGUs have Disaster Command and Auxiliary Centers. Forty drills in 256 barangays in the Eastern Seaboard have also been conducted.
The DILG assures to work fast and close with agencies in the Cabinet Cluster on Climate Change Adaptation and Disaster Risk Management together with the concerned LGUs and the affected communities in undertaking disaster resiliency measures, he says.
Alongside this effort, he said that the operationalization of Hotline 911 comes handy, which was a directive of the President in his first SONA.
He said that 911 is now present not only in Metro Manila and Cebu but has call centers in Baguio, Bataan, Lucena, Puerto Princesa, Bacolod, Zamboanga, Cagayan de Oro, Malaybalay, Mati, Cotabato, Sultan Kudarat, and Butuan.
Infra and procurement
Aside from securing a peaceful nation, Cuy said that the DILG is never remiss in the local governance sector.
He said that the DILG has programs that are in line with the Build, Build and Build mantra of the administration that envisions to make the next few years the Golden Age of Infrastructure in the Philippines to enhance mobility and connectivity in the country.
In support of this goal, the DILG is building infrastructure projects under its programs called Support to Conditional Matching Grant (CMG) to Provinces for Road Repair, Rehabilitation and Improvement Program, Special Local Roads Fund (SLRF), Assistance to Disadvantaged Municipalities (ADM), and Payapa at Masaganang Pamayanan (PAMANA).
The Department ensures that in these projects, procurement is not tainted with corruption and the quality of service and products supersedes the selection of bidder, he says.
Fast government service
He further noted that the DILG, together with the Department of Trade and Industry and the Department of Information and Communications Technology, delivered in realizing the commitment in the first SONA last year to shorten the processing time for business permit and licensing system (BPLS) in LGUs from ten to five days to two or one day for new applications.
Meanwhile, renewal now only takes a day or less compared to the duration in previous system where it took a maximum of five days.
Cuy said that as of end of June 2017, 1,386 or 91 percent out of 1,516 cities and municipalities complied with 2016 Standards of Business Permit Application and BPLS Complementary Reform.
Ninety-three percent (93%) or 1,417 of 1,516 cities and municipalities (excluding those in Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao) have streamlined their BPLS as of end of June 2016.
Through this, we have made true what the President mandated to ensure competitiveness and promote ease of doing business to enhance the local business environment, he says.
The climb to federalism
According to Cuy, the Department is also in the forefront of the massive information campaign on federalism.
More than a million people have participated in numerous DILG federalism advocacy activities such as symposia, orientation, training of trainers, and seminars in various LGUs nationwide.
The DILG, together with its key partners in the private and academic sectors, is bringing the advocacy campaign down to barangay level to ensure grassroots appreciation and informed opinion on federalism.
Source: Department of the Interior and Local Government