PNP chief orders assessment of threats vs. local execs

Domestic Affairs

MANILA: Philippine National Police (PNP) chief Gen. Rodolfo Azurin Jr. on Friday ordered all heads of the country's 17 police regional offices (PROs) to conduct an assessment of security threats against local officials in their areas of jurisdiction.

“Our order for all police regional directors is to start conducting a threat assessment on elected as well as appointed officials in their areas, so that we would know their current state, whether the PNP is providing enough or inadequate security," Azurin said on the sidelines of the turnover of command rites at the National Capital Region Police Office (NCRPO) headquarters in Camp Bagong Diwa, Taguig City.

The order comes after a spate of attacks against three local government officials in less than a week -- the latest of whom is Mayor Ohto Caumbo Montawal of Datu Montawal town in Maguindanao del Sur who was wounded in an ambush in Pasay City on Wednesday night.

On Feb. 17, Lanao del Sur Governor Mamintal Alonto Adiong Jr. was wounded in an attack in the province's Maguing town.

Two days later, Aparri, Cagayan Vice Mayor Rommel Alameda and his five companions were killed in an ambush by unidentified gunmen in Bagabag, Nueva Vizcaya.

"Are these officials getting active threats or is there an intense rivalry in their areas or these have lied low? We should determine so we can make the necessary security adjustments,” Azurin said in Filipino.

Under the PNP's rules, elected officials are only allowed to have two security personnel from the PNP-Police Security and Protection Group.

However, Azurin said officials can be secured by the local police even if they get out of their areas of jurisdiction.

Meanwhile, newly-appointed NCRPO chief Maj. Gen. Edgar Allan Okubo has directed the region's five district directors to do the same.

The five districts covered by the NCRPO are the Manila Police District, Quezon City Police District, Northern Police District, Southern Police District and Eastern Police District.

Okubo also vowed to address peace and order concerns in Metro Manila to ensure the unhampered delivery of the organization’s mandate for the safety and protection of the citizens.

“Ang programa ko dito ay ipalapit mas lalo ang mga kapulisan sa komunidad. Gusto ko na yung pulis ang hahanap ng community na pagsisilbihan nila, hindi yung community ang naghahanap sa kanila (My program here is to bring the police officers closer to the community. I want the police to find the community they will serve, not the community looking for them,” said Okubo.

The NCRPO chief said that he will implement revitalized police operations in every barangay just like the PNP program last 2011.

“The PNP program in 2011 for barangay police disappeared. I called it revitalized barangay police, revitalized means I intensified it, I strengthened it so that the community could feel their need more. This is also like basic services. It became effective in urban areas. So we will also try it here also here in the city, I mean in the rural areas very effective, we will also try it so that the people also feel that the police are still helping our government to provide our communities with what they need,” the Metro Manila top cop explained.

Okubo said he will form a core group of cops who would be stationed in barangay where they will undergo training to study the basic services in the government to strengthen the partnership between police and the community.

Okubo, a member of the Philippine Military Academy Class of 1992, replaced his classmate Maj. Gen. Jonnel Estomo who was promoted to deputy chief of operations, the PNP's third highest post.

Source: Philippine News Agency