Philippine people collect fishing tools ahead of a storm (Photo: NYT)

Hanoi (VNA) – Philippine government officials and employees will no longer be allowed to travel abroad during disasters and emergencies such as typhoons from 2019, according to the Philippine Department of Interior and Local Government (DILG).

This move is to ensure that mayors and other local government officials will not be "missing in action" during emergencies and calamities, the DILG said in its statement issued on January 24.

“As we are guided by law, we will exercise it to its full extent to ensure that local chief executives are where they are expected to be in times of disaster or calamities,” DILG Assistant Secretary and spokesperson Jonathan Malaya said in the statement.

All approved travel authorities or leaves of absence of local officials in case of a natural or man-made disaster or calamities will be revoked by the DILG.

In mid-January, the DILG endorsed administrative sanctions against five town mayors from the northern Philippine main island of Luzon before the Office of the Ombudsman.

The DILG said they did not find their explanations for being "missing in action" during the disastrous typhoons in September 2018.

The Philippines is one of the most disaster-prone countries in the world. Annually, an average of 22 tropical cyclones strikes this archipelagic country, of which around six to seven cause significant damage.

Also, the country is highly exposed to geologic hazards including earthquakes and volcanic eruptions. -VNA