It has been a hectic season both in the local government and interior sectors. We had our plates full in implementing the flagship programs in the local government, peace and order, and public safety fronts.

As the Chairman of the Committee on Security, Peace and Order, Emergency Preparedness and Response (CSPOEPR) of the ASEAN National Organizing Committee (NOC) 2017, the Department of the Interior and Local Government (DILG) was on top of the security and safety measures for the world leaders and delegates during the 31st Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) Summit.

At the same time, it has been a season of good governance as we continue to raise the bar of excellence through the Seal of Good Local Governance (SGLG) and its accompanying Performance Challenge Fund (PCF). This year alone, 448 Local Government Units (LGUs) bagged the Seal and were granted with PCF awards.

Our attached agencies like the Philippine National Police (PNP) also had their season of change as it encountered rounds of ups and downs while supporting the Philippine Drug Enforcement Agency (PDEA) in the massive war on drugs, crime, and corruption. The Bureau of Fire Protection (BFP) maintained its campaign against fire incidents through its massive information campaign and tie up with various sectors. After all, multi-sectoral support for any campaign is a sure guarantee for success. Relevant and timely international confabs, local courses, and curriculum are also offered by the Philippine Public Safety College (PPSC) with the end view of providing trainings and education to our leaders. The National Police Commission (NAPOLCOM) also remained steadfast in fulfilling its constitutional and statutory mandates by withdrawing the deputation of police powers of a number of local chief executives (LCEs) who had been remiss in their duties and fast-tracking the dismissal of rogue police officers.

The DILG likewise administered the killed-in-action wounded-in-action (KIA WIA) program (Comprehensive Social Benefits Program) to ensure that the families of the police and military personnel are properly taken cared of.

It has also been a season of renewal at the Bureau of Jail Management and Penology (BJMP) as it intensified its campaign against illegal jail activities and rogue jail personnel through the greyhound operations and “E-Tap mo si Sir Tap” programs. This year, BJMP led at least 508 greyhound operations across 17 regions in the country which resulted to the confiscation and destruction of various contraband items.

Meanwhile, it has also been a season of healing for drug dependents who wanted to turn over a new leaf. The DILG through the Drug Abuse Treatment and Rehabilitation Center Project Management Office (DATRC-PMO) actively collaborated with different agencies and private sectors to build rehabilitation centers and ensure that these centers become places of healing and renewal for the drug surrenderers.

All of these endeavors are geared towards federalism as the Department steps up the information, education and communication initiatives for the past few months. With the foundations laid out, the DILG can look forward to the incoming season of hope as the DILG works closely with other national government agencies in crafting the best model of federalism suited for our country.

Finally, the Local Government Academy (LGA) pushed the disaster risk reduction and climate change adaptation (DRR-CCA) initiatives to the next level. The Listong Pamahalaang Lokal under the Oplan Listo program has dramatically improved the way LGUs and communities prepare for disasters resulting to reduced adverse impacts of calamities and decrease of casualties.

While many rejoiced and enjoyed the endless rounds of parties and get together, our Patrol 117 and emergency responders stayed to their posts even during the holidays just to ensure everyone’s safety.

Amidst all the hectic schedules, let us always remember that in this season of giving, we should continue to give our selfless service to our countrymen. May the core values of DILG – Matino, Mahusay, at Maaasahan – inspire all of us to do our best as we hurdle new challenges and adventures come 2018.

Thank you for helping us tackle the challenges this year. To all the stakeholders and local government units –thank you for the continued support and trusted partnerships. To the men and women in ranks-thank you for the dedication and sacrifice. To our able leaders, heads and bureau chiefs- thank you for the direction and guidance. To the top leadership – all the way to President Rodrigo Duterte- thank you for the inspiration to serve.

On behalf of the DILG Family, our sincerest appreciation for actively engaging with us and supporting us this year and we are looking forward to working more closely with you as we hurdle all the challenges and continue to serve our fellowmen with greater zeal and fervor in 2018 and the coming years.