Palace to entertain LGUs seeking dialogue with Duterte
By Jelly Musico
MANILA (Philippines News Agency) — Malacañang on Thursday said it will accommodate groups of local government units (LGUs) seeking audience with President Rodrigo Duterte following the recent killing of two mayors in a span of two days.
Presidential Spokesperson Harry Roque said both the Union of Local Authorities of the Philippines (ULAP) and the League of Municipalities of the Philippines (LMP) have asked to personally air their concerns to the President.
“But we said it’s subject to availability (of the President). We will accommodate both,” Roque said during the Palace press briefing.
Roque confirmed the recent meeting between ULAP officials, Interior and Local Government Secretary Eduardo Año and Philippine National Police (PNP) chief Oscar Albayalde.
He said some of the ULAP’s concerns are how mayors and other LGU officials from Mindanao can carry firearms for their protection since Mindanao is under martial law due to last year’s Marawi City siege.
Roque said the LGU officials also wanted to participate in the vetting of the government’s narco-list, adding that PDEA already made improvements in the vetting process of the list.
“What I know is that there is already Central Database and the Philippine Drug Enforce Agency will take the lead in the Central Database for narco-lists or narco-personalities. So we are already heading to that direction,” Roque said.
“All intelligence information are now submitted to PDEA and it is incumbent upon PDEA now to verify this intelligence reports,” he added.
Roque said LGUs leaders noted that their counterparts who are not really involved in illegal drugs should be removed from the government’s drug list.
The LGU officials have also asked to give back the supervision of police to the mayors.
“Secretary Año and PNP Chief (Albayalde) have promised that they will study the concerns that ULAP expressed to them,” Roque said.
Roque said the dialogue will continue to prove that the government, including the President, is open to the concerns of the local leaders.
Tanauan City Mayor Antonio Halili, who was on the government’s narco-list, was killed while attending a flag-raising ceremony on Monday while Mayor Ferdinand Bote of General Tinio, Nueva Ecija was ambushed the following day.
Roque said Duterte has directed law enforcers to investigate and arrest the culprits behind the killing of Halili and Bote.
He reiterated his appeal to the public not to speculate and wait for the final results of the investigation. (PNA)