Analysis: EO 546 empowers local chiefs, PNP in fight vs terrorism
Cagayan de Oro City (25 October) -- Provincial governors, city mayors and the Philippine National Police (PNP) are now given direct arm in the fight against terrorism. This was announced by Interior Secretary Ronaldo Puno during the Mindanao Leaders Forum on Security and Terrorism last October 18, 2006 at Pryce Plaza Hotel, this city.
During the forum, Puno laid down the provisions of Executive Order 546 recently signed by President Gloria Macapagal Arroyo, which stressed the important role of local officials in drawing up internal security plans in their respective localities and the making of PNP as co-equal partner in the effort of combating insurgencies and terrorism in the country.
Puno reiterated the directive of the President to the local executives for them to lead the fight against terrorism. EO 546 requires all local chief executives across the country to incorporate a counter-insurgency component in their integrated public safety plans. Puno also urged them to allocate a portion of their respective annual budgets for the operational and logistical support requirements of concerned PNP field units to be used among others, information gathering, police community relations and dismantling the local guerillas and terrorist fronts.
The PNP, on the other hand, is now given a more active role in the internal security concerns. Not only confined in the maintenance of peace and order, EO 546 now also directs the PNP to actively support the Armed Forces in suppressing insurgency and other serious threats to national security. It also authorizes the PNP to deputize barangay tanods as "force multipliers" in the peace and order plan, subject to the approval of the local peace and order councils.
The deputization of members of civilian volunteer organizations or barangay tanods as police auxiliaries is one approach in the local anti-terror drive. These tanods, once deputized by PNP with concurrence of the local Peace and Order Council, are expected to be registered with the PNP as to acquire legal personalities to undertake any kind of police work. They will carry special identification cards and undergo basic anti-terror training by the PNP. Puno said "only those tanods who pass the very stringent qualification requirement will be deputized by the PNP."
Both the AFP and PNP shall closely coordinate under this program. AFP will deal with the CAFGUs and special CAFGUs, while the CVOs or barangay tanods are the concerns of PNP. CAFGUs and special CAFGUs will also have enhancement training to be conducted by the AFP and the LGUs.
Puno also defined the role of the Peace and Order councils in the fight against terrorism. "They will play an active role in this anti-terror drive. They will perform among others, information gathering, sustained monitoring of suspicious movements, and in updating of records of all inhabitants of the barangay," Puno said.
In closing, Puno recognized the urgency of the problem of terrorism. "These are trying times. The problems of peace and order that we are facing today are not normal. However, I am confident that right now, the problem is well within the capability of the local governments to solve."
Puno is optimistic that after the forum, an overall anti-terrorism plan will be implemented in the entire Mindanao very soon.
Also present that afternoon were National Security Adviser Norberto Gonzales, Police Director General Oscar Calderon, OIC MEDCo Chair Virgilio Leyretana, Sr., DILG Assistant Secretaries, governors, city mayors, DILG regional directors, PNP regional directors and other guests. (DILG-10 / RAGCOM) [top]