DILG chief vows to go after name-droppers, illegal solicitors

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Interior secretary Mel Sarmiento has ordered the arrest and prosecution of anyone who is using his name and the agency to collect fees from local government officials.

Sarmiento said he has received reports that unscrupulous persons posing as “agents” of the Department of Interior and Local Government (DILG) are asking money from mayors to hasten the shipment of new patrol jeeps the agency has been distributing to local government units.

“Let it be put on record that the DILG did not authorize and does not authorize any person or entity to transact with local officials to collect fees to facilitate the distribution of patrol jeeps or the implementation of any DILG-related program or project,” the DILG secretary said in a Malaya article.

“Our projects do not require facilitation fees or any kind of payments or charges prior to release or approval,” he pointed out.

The DILG has procured 1,470 Mahindra Enforcer patrol jeeps to boost the crime-fighting capabilities of police stations nationwide.

Sarmiento said local officials are not required to shell out any amount since the supplier will shoulder the shipping expenses.

He asked local officials to report to authorities should they encounter any of these unscrupulous individuals.

“Let me make it very clear that I will never give protection to anyone, any group or any illegal activity.

I will never receive any money to protect illegal activities.

I will never allow anyone to represent me just to tarnish my good name.

I urge the public to immediately report to the DILG whenever they hear anyone name-dropping me to collect bribes or protection money,” Sarmiento said.