Army official cites EO 546 as effective tool to fight insurgency
By Freddie G. Lazaro
NARVACAN, Ilocos Sur (31 October) -- A senior army official has cited the significance of President Gloria Macapagal Arroyo's Executive Order 546, institutionalizing the Philippines' anti-insurgency campaign nationwide.
Colonel Loreto Rirao, Commanding officer of the army's 503rd Brigade based in Barangay Sulvec, Narvacan town, disclosed that the EO 546 makes the Philippine National Police (PNP) a partner with the Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) in the anti-insurgency campaign as well as it authorizes the use of barangay leaders as force multipliers to strengthen the government fight against terrorism and other security threats
"The EO 546 greatly helped us in the counter - insurgency operation in Ilocos region," he said.
Under the order, the PNP and the AFP will promote public safety and progress nationwide by jointly suppressing insurgency, terrorism and other forms of national security threats.
Earlier, President Arroyo said an institutionalized anti-insurgency campaign was necessary as terrorist activities of organized armed groups were hinder government's efforts to move the country forward.
"The on-going insurgency has a negative impact on the economy, so resolving this will foster a climate conducive to economic growth and national development," she explained.
To effectively address insurgency, the president ordered the implementation of a total government approach which sustains, coordinates and integrates local measures and international assistance against armed struggle.
She noted that in accordance with Section 12 of Republic Act 6975 as amended by Republic Act 8551 which delegates upon AFP primary responsibility for curbing insurgency.
RA 6975 was also cited in EO 546 as requiring PNP to support AFP's anti-insurgency drive through its information gathering activities and other ordinary police functions except when the president orders the force to support the military in combat operations.
Under EO 546, President Arroyo also authorized 'barangay tanod' personnel nationwide to be deputized as force multipliers.
"These village officials will help implement community public safety plans for cities and municipalities in the country," she said.
Reports from the Department of Interior and Local Government (DILG) show the 37,534 of the country's 41,972 barangays had already created their own barangay peace and order committees (BPOC).
The Chief Executive clarified; however, deputizing 'barangay tanod' personnel will be subject to concurrence of local chief executives concerned through their respective peace and order councils.
In Section 3 of EO 546, Mrs. Arroyo likewise ordered the DILG to "exert efforts in securing and institutionalizing funding support from local government units."
"For this purpose, governors and mayors as deputized representatives of the National Police Commission in their respective territorial jurisdiction, and in relation to their sworn duty to implement Section 16 of the Local Government Code, shall ensure that sufficient funds shall be appropriated in their annual budget for operational and logistical support of concerned PNP units for implementation of this Executive Order," the President said.
Authorities are convinced EO 546 will boost government's efforts to make the country progressive as they pointed out armed struggle of such groups like the Communist Party of the Philippines (CPP) and its military arm the New People's Army (NPAs) did nothing to promote development nationwide, particularly in the countryside. (PIA Ilocos) [top]