The performance of the Manila government under the stewardship of Mayor Joseph “Erap” Estrada is moderately low when it comes to the fight against illegal drugs based on the functionality of its Anti-Illegal Drugs Abuse Council, the Department of the Interior and Local Government said.
According to DILG Assistant Secretary for External and Legislative Affairs Ricojudge Echiverri, Manila got a low rating grade of 65, speaking of functionality, a little over than the borderline of 50.
Echiverri said a rating of 50 or below merits a filing of administrative charges against a local government unit for being non-compliant or “low-functionality” in its ADAC implementation.
The DILG and the Dangerous Drugs Board on May 21, 2018 issued Joint Memorandum Circular No. 2018-01, mandating all LGUs to activate, strengthen and ensure the functionality of their local ADACs; approve a comprehensive local anti-drug plan of action to eliminate drug affectation; and appropriate a substantial amount of funds for anti-illegal drugs related programs, activities and operations.
This was followed by numerous DILG directives and DDB regulations, which have been cascaded to LGUs to remind and direct local chief executives to organize their respective ADACs.
In the case of Manila, Echiverri said Estrada’s ADAC is far from the functions expected in this LGU, which is equivalent to three or four cities in Metro Manila, not to mention how high it is affected with illegal drugs.
Although a grade of 65 does not merit a filing of an administrative charge against Estrada, the DILG official said he is far from satisfied with Manila’s functionality performance compared to other cities with big populations such as Quezon City, Caloocan and Pasay.
According to the DILG, Quezon City got a rating of 100, while Caloocan obtained a 95 functionality grade.
Echiverri said the rating covers year 2018.
Last Wednesday, Echiverri led the filing of charges before the Office of the Ombudsman against 51 local chief executives in the country for their being non-compliant or low-functionality on the implementation of their respective ADACs.
Filed ahead of the May elections, Echiverri expects this move to influence other towns in “taking seriously” the organization and strengthening of ADACs in their respective areas.
He underscored the importance of setting up an ADAC in every community, saying it signifies commitment and collective action to eliminate the problem of illegal drugs.
The official filed at the Office of the Ombudsman administrative charges of misconduct and dereliction of duty against the mayors.
The agency pointed out in the complaint that “the failure of the respondent to create the local ADAC can be classified as a misconduct in office or a dereliction of duty which is among the grounds for discipline, suspension, or removal from office of a local official.”
In a list of sent to the Philippine News Agency, Echiverri said the DILG also filed administrative charges against nine respondents from municipalities with low functioning anti-drugs council.
Echiverri explained that a local government unit could be classified with low functionality ADAC if there is no allocation of resources for the council or the heads failed to establish a community-based rehabilitation center.
Meanwhile, the non-compliant ones are the local government units that scored zero in the agency’s performance ratings.
Echiverri enjoined the LGUs to organize their ADAC as mandated by the law.
“We will leave it to the Ombudsman to decide on the punishment, the lightest is reprimand, one is suspension, or the worst -- removal,” he said.
The first batch of the complaints was filed against 20 mayors on March 14 while the second batch against another 25 was lodged on March 20.