QUEZON CITY (DWDD) – The Department of Interior and Local Government (DILG) has welcomed the support and pledge of commitment by the 16,500-strong Philippine Councilor’s League (PCL) in the government’s drive against drugs, criminality and corruption.
In the said consultation with PCL officials, DILG Undersecretary Austere A. Panadero said he is grateful that the councilors’ body has volunteered their support to help monitor the implementation of Department programs and projects to ensure that everything is aboveboard.
“Help us ensure that government projects ay hindi lamang nagagawa, kundi nagagawa ng tama,” said Panadero to the group.
One of the DILG-managed programs that the PCL can help monitor is the Assistance to Disadvantaged Municipalities (ADM), a P17 billion program that aims to increase citizens’ access to basic facilities and strengthen the participation of civil society organizations in local governance.
“We should strengthen vital areas of collaboration on key areas of governance,” said Panadero as he lauded the PCL for their trailblazing innovations and accomplishments.
The DILG Undersecretary also clarified and dispelled doubts that the Mamamayang Ayaw sa Anomalya, Mamamayang Ayaw sa Iligal na Droga (MASA MASID) is a political group that can be mobilized for elections.
“MASA MASID is a genuine volunteer organization that will help the government in fighting corruption, drugs, criminality and violent extremism,” said Panadero.
Meanwhile, DILG- OIC Catalino S. Cuy welcomed PCLs gesture, stating that there was indeed a need for a real “pagtutulungan.” Cuy, who presided over the meeting, was encouraged by the move initiated by the PCL and personally pledged support to the League in its worthwhile endeavors.
The DILG Acting Secretary directly answered queries from the PCL leadership regarding police matters, particularly the reality that the ideal police-to-population ratio has not been attained yet.
“Kulang talaga (ang mga pulis natin). That is why there is an ongoing massive recruitment for PNP but we cannot go beyond 10, 000. Our training facilities will be too burdened if we go beyond that number,” he emphasized.
Recruitment for jail and fire personnel are also massive. “Two thousand recruits ang ating ipo-pocess sa BFP while we will get additional 1,000 recruits sa BJMP,” he added.
The meeting also included areas of concern that needed the participation of the PCL as highlighted by Vivian Suansing, Assistant Director of the Bureau of Local Government Supervision.
“We added one more thing. So it is not just the campaign against drugs, corruption and criminality, but this time, ‘violent extremism,’” said Suansing.
For their part, PCL National Executive Vice President Benny Brizuela said that the councilors’ group has always supported anti-corruption initiatives.
“We have already started working with the [Department of Environment and Natural Resources] through Sec. Roy Cimatu to help monitor environmental issues in our areas. Aside from DENR, we have also established links with the Office of the Ombudsman to lend a hand in monitoring corruption,” said Brizuela.
The consultation dialogue was also attended by National Chairman Dayanghirang, National President Chavit Singson, National Executive Vice President Benny Brizuela, National Vice Chair Elmer Datuin, National Secretary General Jay Pimentel, National Treasurer Sharon Macabebe, Auditor Kerby Salazar, Public Relations Officer Beethoven Bermejo, Liaison Officer Jess Cruz, Luzon Vice Chair Vandolph Quizon, Visayas Vice Chair Mitch Patricio, and Mindanao Vice Chair Oliver Owen Garcia. DILG / MCAG