E. VISAYAS EXECS ASKED TO EXPLAIN ABSENCE DURING ‘USMAN’
TACLOBAN CITY — The Department of the Interior and Local Government (DILG) has asked 26 local government officials in Eastern Visayas to explain their absence during Typhoon Usman in late December 2018.
Adrian Thomas Colasito, DILG 8 (Eastern Visayas) assistant division chief for local government monitoring and evaluation, told reporters on Friday that some of the officials began sending their explanation to Interior Secretary Eduardo Año last week.
Colasito declined to reveal the names of the local chief executives to avoid trial by publicity while the DILG investigation is ongoing.
He said it will depend on Año on what action to take against the local government officials if they fail to justify their absence from their areas jurisdiction during the onslaught of Usman.
“This doesn’t mean that local government officials are already guilty because they were asked to explain. They may have a valid reason for not being in their jurisdiction,” Colasito said.
Last January 4, Año issued a memorandum recalling travel orders during times of disaster to local government officials from governors, mayors, vice mayors, village chiefs, and council and provincial board members who handle the committees on peace and order and crisis management, disaster risk reduction and management, social welfare and development, and women, youth, children and Indigenous Peoples.
The order also covers the chief of the local disaster risk reduction office.
“Usman” was the most destructive storm that crossed Samar Island in 2018.
At least 13 people were confirmed dead in Samar while five others went missing after the storm hit land before New Year, according to the Regional Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Council.
Of the 13 deaths, five were from Lope de Vega, Northern Samar; two from Victoria, Northern Samar; one from Catarman, Northern Samar; three from Calbayog City, Samar; and two from Paranas, Samar.
Most of the victims drowned after floodwaters inundated populated communities in the two provinces of Samar Island. The five missing persons are from Calbayog City and Victoria town.
Landslides and flooding also isolated Lope de Vega town for several days. (PNA)