Thursday, December 7, 2017

ILOILO – Mayor Mariano Malones of Maasin wants the policemen who were relieved from their posts following the rebels’ raid of the municipal police station on June 18 back in his town.

For one, they were already familiar with the people and the town, said Malones yesterday.

The policemen must also be given the chance to redeem themselves, he added.

Lately, the insurgents have been stepping up offensives in Maasin. The national government now classifies them as terrorists.

“Our friends in the mountains are taking advantage of the situation. The new policemen of the Maasin police station are not familiar with the people and our area because they are not from Maasin,” said Malones.

The return of the sacked Maasin cops could be of help, he said.

“They have yet to be charged with anything. I think the best thing man nga maka-recover sila. They did not only lose their guns to the rebels; they also lost their dignity. They should be given a chance to make up for their shortcomings,” said Malones.

All of Maasin police station’s 23 police personnel, including the police chief, Senior Inspector Ray Cordero, were removed from the town following the raid. The Police Regional Office 6 also ordered an investigation to determine their culpability.

A failure in police-community relations was how the PRO-6 viewed the successful New People’s Army (NPA) raid. The policemen failed to earn the community’s trust and confidence so they were not informed of the impending raid, said Superintendent Gilbert Gorero, PRO-6 spokesperson.

During his visit to Maasin on June 23 five days after the police station raid, Philippine National Police’s (PNP) Director General Ronald Dela Rosa appealed for “mutual cooperation and protection” between the townspeople and the Maasin police.

The PNP’s thrust towards adopting community-oriented policing is prescribed by the law that created it, Republic Act 8551 (Philippine National Police Reform and Reorganization Act of 1998). It states that the PNP shall be a community- and service-oriented agency responsible for the maintenance of peace and order and public safety.

According to Gorero, the Maasin raid could not have been a failure in police intelligence. Weeks before the raid, the Iloilo Police Provincial Office (IPPO) already alerted several police stations that the NPA was planning to attack the police station of Maasin and several other towns.

“Kaso lang may mga pulis gid nga pabaya,” said Gorero.

The daring, broad daylight raid was swift. Within 15 minutes beginning around 10:30 a.m., the rebels shanghaied M16 rifles, Glock .9mm pistols, handheld radios and their base, laptops, mobile phones, and jewelry.

The rebels also used the police station’s patrol car to flee.

Five months after, on Nov. 24 they ambushed policemen in Sitio Camansi, Barangay Bolo. One cop was killed and 12 others were wounded.

Twelve days before the ambush, on Nov. 12, the rebels fired at a detachment of the IPPO’s 3rd Maneuver Platoon, also in Barangay Bolo.

In the PNP Police-Community Relations Manual (Revised, January 2012), then PNP Director General Nicanor Bartolome stated: “A synergistic partnership between the community and the Philippine National Police is essential if crime reduction and quality of life are to improve. Thus, both mutual and supportive relationships are vital in increasing the law enforcers’ effectiveness in enforcing the law, reducing crime and maintaining peace.”

This partnership, he added, can be further strengthened by initiating programs to make the community feel safe with the police.

“When every citizen feels safe in the community, trust and confidence in the police is regained. Thus, it will be easier to solicit their support in all police programs to attain genuine peace and security. In so doing, the PNP shall be a more accessible and indispensable partner of the community in providing more efficient and effective services,” wrote Bartolome in the PNP Police-Community Relations Manual./PN


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