Commentary: BPOCs as “force multipliers” in our nationwide struggle against terrorism
By Miriam P. Aquino
San Fernando City, La Union (23 October) -- Terrorism has extremely agonized the locality, and the government is tapping the local governments, particularly the country’s 41,000 barangays (villages) to play a key role together with the Philippine National Police and the military in our struggle against this crucial scourge.
Department of Interior and Local Government (DILG) Secretary Ronaldo Puno said that mobilizing peace and order councils down to the grassroots level by keeping an updated list of inhabitants within their area and immediately reporting any suspicious-looking entities can greatly help the government’s anti-terrorism campaign.
Executive Order 546, issued on July 14, 2006, makes PNP a co-equal partner of the Armed Forces of the Philippines in the anti-insurgency campaign, at the same time authorizing deputation of barangay leaders and tanods as “force multipliers” to strengthen the government’s fight against terrorism and other forms of security threats, Puno said.
Puno, also the Head of the National Police Commission, urged the local government’s to include in their annual budget funds for the operational and logistical support of police units and civilian volunteer organizations (CVO) trained and deployed by PNP as force multipliers.
In La Union, DILG Provincial Director Brigidea Colisao said that this EO is not yet actually implemented here in the province, though almost all of the barangays here have earlier created their own barangay peace and order committees. As far as insurgency is concerned, Colisao assured that the province is still considered more peaceful than in different provinces especially Mindanao, and no sightings of suspicious or unlikely rebels have yet been reported so far.
A Memorandum Circular which has been issued to them by the Office of the DILG Secretary, she said, is still unsigned, though possible implementation of the EO may not take long enough as they are just waiting for the directive from Manila, she added.
“Actually not all barangay tanods are considered qualified, because they have to still undergo several tests like drug-testing, Psychological and the like and those who will pass these tests will be the ones to be trained by the PNP on basic intelligence and use of equipments and arms, etc. and later on be deployed as force multipliers. This will also depend on the availability of funds to be used in implementing this program”, Colisao explained. (PIA La Union) [top]