Local governments given 60 days to clear roads, sidewalks

THE DEPARTMENT of Interior and Local Government (DILG), following a directive from the President during his State of the Nation Address last week, has released a memorandum circular directing all local government units (LGUs) to clear all roads and sidewalks from obstructions, such as illegal vendors and illegally-parked vehicles. DILG Secretary Eduardo M. Año said the 60 days period given to officials starts July 29. “Ang ating (Our) countdown starts today,” he said in a press conference on Monday. The memorandum states: “Within 60 calendar days, significant results must be achieved, documented, and reported together with the efforts of the LGUs to sustain the same.” Following the directive, the National Capital Region Police Office said they will provide additional forces to help barangay tanods (watchmen) in ensuring the implementation of the order. “We will provide the necessary police force… so even at night time, we will increase the number of police personnel to provide assistance to barangay tanods and other force multipliers to see to it the policies and guidelines will be implemented,” said NCRPO chief Maj. Gen. Guillermo T. Eleazar. The Metropolitan Manila Development Authority (MMDA), meanwhile, expects that the clearing operations will open more routes for vehicles. “Lahat ng kalsadang pwedeng idagdag sa dami ng sasakyan ay malaking tulong (All roads that could be added in view of the volume of vehicles would be a big help). Just imagine our alternate routes, more than 20% niyan ay ‘di madaanan (of those are obstructed),” said MMDA General Manager Jose Arturo S. Garcia Jr. Local chief executives who fail to implement the order could face a two-month preventive suspension and administrative charges. — Vince Angelo C. Ferreras

4 KAPA officials fail to file counter-affidavit as preliminary investigation resumes

THE DEPARTMENT of Justice (DoJ) resumed on Monday its preliminary investigation into the complaint filed by the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) against Kapa-Community Ministry International, Inc. (KAPA) over its alleged investment scam. Through their legal counsel, KAPA’s founder, Joel A. Apolinario, Corporate Secretary Reyna L. Apolinario, Rene Catubigan, and Catherine Evangelista submitted their joint counter-affidavit to the prosecution panel. The SEC has been given until Aug. 5 to submit its reply to the counter-affidavit. Four other respondents in the complaint who have yet to submit their counter-affidavits are trustee Margie A. Danao, Marisol M. Diaz, Adelfa Fernandico and Moises Mopia. The SEC recommended the charging of KAPA and its eight officials for violating provisions of the Securities Regulation Code. The corporate regulator said the organization’s “donation” and “blessing” scheme is the same as selling or distribution of securities in the form of investment contracts. SEC revoked KAPA’s registration last April 3. A freeze order was also secured from the Court of Appeals against its bank accounts and assets. The National Bureau of Investigation and three KAPA investors also filed a syndicated estafa against the organization and its officers. — Vann Marlo M. Villegas