mamang pulis

1,800 R-PSB-trained cops now in former NPA hotbeds

September 19, 2023 Alfred P. Dalizon 1064 views

NPASABI mo sa akin pulis ka. Pinuntahan kita sa camp n’yo, nakita kita naghahalo ng semento.”

This is a pun intended for members of the Revitalized-Pulis sa Barangay (R-PSB) of the Philippine National Police who nowadays may be seen in public working like real carpenters, laborers, house-painters or road workers to help the ‘poorest of the poor’ in the countryside and even in Metro Manila.

A total of 1,787 PNP personnel who completed R-PSB training are now deployed in former New People’s Army ‘hotbeds’ in the countryside with a mission to prevent the rebels from regaining the people’s support in many poor communities, the Journal Group learned yesterday.

According to PNP Director for Police-Community Relations Major General Edgar Alan O. Okubo, the 1,787 policemen underwent training from their R-PSB Team during the 3rd quarter of the year.

These 1,787 personnel are now equipped with the knowledge to fully support the Armed Forces of the Philippines in clearing communist insurgency in Samar and Bicol regions as ordered by PNP chief General Benjamin C. Acorda Jr..

Okubo said the ‘mission areas’ were determined by the PNP in collaboration with the Regional Peace and Order Councils and Joint Peace and Security Coordinating Councils, who are now fully supporting the R-PSB program of the police force.

Last week, the official sent off 200 personnel of the Police Regional Office 5 in Bicol region who have finished a 15-day R-PSB training in Masbate City.

The 200 policemen’s mission is to immerse with poor communities in the province and help them ‘silently win the war’ against communist rebels.

He also led the send-off program for the R-PSB personnel from the PRO5 headed by Brigadier Gen. Westrimundo D. Obinque tasked to support the Armed Forces of the Philippines in defeating the New People’s Army in Masbate.

The policemen can do it by mingling with the people and listening to their grievances and help provide them with means that will alleviate their condition such as the construction of small farm-to-market roads, schools and potable water and lighting systems with the help of different government agencies.

The official said that the R-PSB mission in Masbate is in line with the 5-Focused Agenda of Gen. Acorda.

According to Okubo, the 200 Bicol policemen who were trained by an R-PSB team will be immersed for six months in barangays in the province already cleared of insurgency as a result of the AFP’s Community Support Program.

The CSP is a program of the AFP’s Development Support and Security Plan known as ‘Kapayapaan,’ a multi-stakeholder and community-based peace and development effort aimed at establishing and protecting a conflict-affected community in the country.

The official said the R-PSB personnel from PRO5 will also help support the gains of Municipal Local Government Operations Office in making affected communities, majority of them situated in Geographically Isolated and Disadvantageous Areas, be fully aware of the services being provided to them by the government.

In his message to officers and men of the Masbate Police Provincial Office headed by Colonel Rolly Albaña, the official emphasized to the R-PSB cadres that their six-month immersion in the GIDAS barangays will challenge them to fight and win the silent war against insurgency.

At the same time, Okubo advised the R-PSB team leaders to initiate letters and requests to different agencies and stakeholders and utilize their training in drafting project proposals to reach out the issues and concerns of the communities located in the medians.

He also recommended to Col. Albaña to release to the R-PSB personnel their Monthly Operational and Other Expenses (MOOE) per capita and prioritize them for the Combat Incentive Pay and Combat Duty Pay to support their expenses in the mission areas.

During the event, Masbate provincial administrator Ramon A. Diamos, six municipal mayors and representatives from the Departments of Agriculture, Agrarian Reform and Labor and Employment as well as the Philippine Red Cross, six barangay captains and two from the Provincial Advisory Group on Police Transformation and Development pledged their support to the R-PSB’s efforts.

Since August 15, 324 R-PSB policemen are already on a mission in Bicol while 583 R-PSB personnel followed by another 365 policemen were deployed to GIDAS areas in Northern Samar on July 19 and August 17 this year, respectively.

Okubo said another 315 members of the PRO11 in Southern Mindanao have also been trained to replace their R-PSB colleagues, who will finish their 6-month mission in the region.

Leading the R-PSB effort of the PNP is Maj. Gen. Okubo, who helped jumpstart the successful program when he was still assigned in Southern Mindanao and later as director of the PNP Special Action Force and the National Capital Region Police Office.

Okubo said that by helping build open roads and highways in far-flung or isolated areas of the country, they are allowing the community to easily gain access to everything they need, including hospitals, schools and other government services.

“I believe in the concept where the road begins, insurgency ends,” the official said.

Sec. Benhur Abalos of the Department of the Interior and Local Government mentioned the ‘tremendous achievement’ of Okubo for the PNP and the National Task Force To End Local Communist Armed Conflict (NTF-ELCAC) when he spoke before a delegation from LEMHANAS Indonesia, otherwise known as the National Resilience Institute of Indonesia on Wednesday last week.

“I’ve seen the project of ELCAC and Gen. Okubo going to the countryside myself, P1.5 billion raised on his own, not even government money and it’s going to the Geographically Isolated and Disadvantageous Areas in the country,” the DILG chief said as he cited the R-PSB’s role in keeping the grounds safe and organized especially in GIDAS areas.

Okubo has been cited by the DILG and the PNP leaderships for his unrelenting passion to replicate the R-PSB program in as many areas of the country as possible to sustainably end insurgency through an aggressive and honest police effort.

The official said that as part of the PNP’s strengthened drive versus insurgency, criminality and terror, they have launched their R-PSB program in line with the 5-Focus Agenda of Gen. Acorda and in order to complement the national security plan of President Ferdinand ‘Bongbong’ R. Marcos Jr. to address the country’s security challenges.