PHILIPPINE National Police (PNP) chief, General Guillermo Lorenzo T. Eleazar has cited the need for a much better police-community partnership to help address the decades-long communist armed conflict which has not only derailed progress in the countryside but has also left thousands dead and billions of pesos worth of properties and investments wasted since the 70s.
“We’re talking of a much better partnership by the police in the grassroots level, the ordinary Filipinos,” he said. The 25th PNP chief explained that it would be done by further strengthening their coordination with barangay officials in the fight against insurgency, drugs, criminality and corruption.
The top cop cited the Revitalized-Pulis sa Barangay or R-PSB project of the Police Regional Office 11 in Southern Mindanao wherein R-PSB personnel assigned in so-called Geographically Isolated and Disadvantaged Areas or GIDAS have helped barangay officials and their constituents build roads, schools, water system and even small worship areas.
“This R-PSB program, ang mga pulis na ang tumutulong sa paggawa ng kabahayan, mga kalsada, mga eskuwelahan, sa pagbibigay ng trabaho sa mga residente. Paramdam ito sa lahat na hindi tayo kalaban bagkus tayo ay kakampi. With the support and commitment of no less than the President, this is the right time to pursue our effort to win back the community,” Eleazar said.
The PRO11 headed by Brigadier Gen. Filmore B. Escobal conceptualized the R-PSB program which has benefitted hundreds of members of indigenous tribes and other poor people living in GIDAS in Southern Mindanao.
Apart from providing security to the local residents, R-PSB personnel since last year have helped build roads to connect isolated areas, schools and even a potable water system for GIDAS residents.
This year, a farm-to-market road in a remote village in Sta. Cruz, Davao del Sur is set to be built by the government to help local residents living in so-called GIDASS known to be being taken advantage of by the New People’s Army, the Journal Group learned.
Last week, a groundbreaking ceremony for the project worth P360 million was held. Once finished, the project which was facilitated by the PRO11 thru their R-PSB project, will connect Barangays Tibolo-Sibulan-Baracatan.
Eleazar said the R-PSB is a laudable program which he wants to replicate nationwide as the PNP will be playing a major role in the government’s effort to fight communist insurgency and terrorism.
“The more we make our presence and service felt in the grassroot communities, the more we manifest collaboration with the barangay citizenry—the more we gain ground in the fight for both communist insurgency and terrorism,” Eleazar explained.
Davao del Sur Governor Douglas Cagas, PRO11 Deputy Regional Director for Operations, Colonel Edgar Alan O. Okubo, Davao del Sur Police Provincial Office director, Colonel Albert P. Lupaz and local barangay officials and tribal council leaders attended the groundbreaking rites in Sitio Piping in Bgy. Sibulan.
Escobal said the Department of Public Works and Highways Region 11 has asked local contractors to ensure that residents of Bgy. Sibulan will be given priority to work in the project.
The 10.6 km Tibolo- Sibulan- Baracatan Farm-to-Market Road Project worth P360 million was outsourced from the National Government Fund and will be supervised by the DPWH 11 Office.
The project was finalized and realigned from two other road projects worth P180 million each, said Okubo.
The official said that leaders of local religious groups and the Bagobo-Tagabawa tribal community led by Datu Gideon Tolentino are ‘very excited’ on the project whose construction will start as soon as the Notice to Proceed is released.
Okubo said the R-PSB Sibulan Team has requested the project contractors to ensure that 60 percent of their workers will come from Bgy. Sibulan. The project involves seven packages awarded to different construction companies which won the bidding process.
Okubo said the project was submitted as a Project Proposal of the R-PSB in January last year as part of their support to efforts of the National Task Force to End Local Communist Armed Conflict. The proposal was approved by the DPWH national office this year.
The new PNP chief said he also wants his men to further press their campaign against illegal drug trafficking and abuse thru an Illegal Drugs Clustering System which is like creating barangays within a barangay.
“Ang clustering ay maaring ang existing sitios, puroks, condo buildings, subdivisions o kumpol ng kabahayan depende sa assessment ng Barangay Anti-Drug Abuse Council o BADAC. Mas pinaliit ang lugar, mas madali ang pag-monitor ng galaw ng mga adik at pusher. At mas maraming cluster sa isang barangay, mas mabuti,” he said.
The PNP chief also said the PNP will be playing a major role in the government’s effort to fight communist insurgency and terrorism.
“The more we make our presence and service felt in the grassroot communities, the more we manifest collaboration with the barangay citizenry—the more we gain ground in the fight for both communist insurgency and terrorism,” he explained.