Arm barangay tanods in ?selective and controlled? areas ? DILG

The peace and order councils from the barangay, municipal, city, provincial, and regional levels, he said, shall work with the police for area assessments, he told reporters Friday.

President Arroyo issued Executive Order 546 on July 14, directing the Philippine National Police to actively support the Armed Forces in suppressing insurgency and other serious threats to national security. She also authorized the PNP to deputize barangay tanods as "force multipliers" in the implementation of the local peace and order plan.

The barangay tanods will join patrol operations with the police, gather intelligence information, aid in serving search warrants and warrants of arrest and act as first responder in any untoward incident or accident in their areas, Rosales said.

They will also be expected to act as traffic enforcers except in Metro Manila, assist in the disaster and relief missions of the police and other functions not specified, Rosales explained in his presentation.

"Equipage is subject to the prevailing situation in the area of jurisdiction and availability of resources," Rosales told the local chief executives on the provision of arms and supplies.

The order also directs the PNP to train the barangay tanods on community-oriented policing system, basic intelligence and investigation, human rights, operational procedures and other capability-building training courses.

The police also have to coordinate with the barangay captains, mayors, and governors for additional allowances of the tanods.

Rosales said the move would improve the capacity of the police, which he said is short of at least 50,000 personnel if we are to use the standard ratio of one policeman to 500 residents.

Rosales, who briefed leaders of the Confederation of Mindanao Governors and Mayors, said local government units must be more involved in the government's anti-insurgency campaign.

"The insurgency problem has greatly affected local governments and businesses. It is about time to get more commitments from them," he told MindaNews.

But any anti–insurgency campaign is bound to fail without development programs flowed to the areas where it is much needed, North Cotabato Gov. Manuel Piñol said.

"We should have a listing of local government units ranked on the basis of
incidence of the insurgency problem so development attention would be
focused there," he said.

Piñol cited the National Internal Security and Safety Plan (NSIP) which sought to approach insurgency using the “clear-hold–consolidate–develop” approach to counter the insurgency problem.

Rosales said local governments must revitalize peace and order councils and operationalize the integrated area or community public safety plan using the approach.

He said local governments must support insurgent clearing operations, help provide, information, support the peace process, improve delivery of basic services and enhance linkages with all affected members of the community.

To develop communities, Rosales said, local government units must implement socio-economic and psycho-social and political reforms in their area, sustain delivery of services and intensify anti-poverty programs.

Local governments must also organize and maintain barangay tanods and civilian volunteer organizations and sustain security operations in the barangay.

"There should be less encounters and more development efforts," Piñol said.

Arroyo signed E0 46 on July 14, a few days after the Maguindanao crisis ended where armed members of civilian volunteers' organizations (CVOs) of Maguindanao Gov. Andal Ampatuan figured in encounters with the Moro Islamic Liberation Front. (Walter I. Balane/MindaNews)