Davao City wants to augment police force by 2,000 or 2,500

DAVAO CITY (MindaNews / 28 January) — Davao City wants additional 2,000 to 2,500 police forces to beef up the operations of the 1,700 strong Davao City Police Office (DCPO), Mayor Sara Duterte said on Friday.

The requested addition is more than twice the present number of 1,700.

At the 50th Annual Installation of Officers and Board of Trustees of the Davao City Chamber of Commerce and Industry (DCCCII) at the SMX Convention Center here on Friday, the mayor said they see the need for more security forces to maintain peace and order here and thwart threats of terrorism because it is getting more challenging to secure a city as big as Davao with a growing a population.

Members of the Special Weapons and Tactics (SWAT) under the Davao City Police Office hone their tactical skills on 14 December 2017 as part of their security strengthening efforts in the city. Mindanews Photo

The city has a population of 1.6 million based on the 2015 census of the Philippine Statistics Authority.

“The city is so huge because there are a lot of people going inside and the security forces are not enough, with a population which is the same as other big cities, except that they are smaller in terms of land area and they have more police forces,” she said.

The mayor said they are preparing the documents to request the Philippine National Police for additional police personnel.

The mayor explained that security measures must be stepped up to protect the city from those who do not agree with some of the policies of her father, President Rodrigo Duterte, and may want to “embarrass” the city where he served as city mayor for 22 years before he ascended to the country’s highest position in 2016.

The mayor added that the security forces here are working very hard to make sure “there will be no terroristic incident in the city.”

She added they continue to deploy police auxiliaries to augment the police patrolling in strategic areas throughout the city.

“We want to keep Davao City’s pride of being the safest city in the country for both people and businesses,” she added.

On September 2, 2016, a blast ripped through Roxas Night Market, leaving 15 people dead and 69 others injured.

The bombing was reportedly perpetrated by members of the Islamic State-inspired Maute Group, the same group that attacked Marawi City last May 23 that prompted the President to place the entire Mindanao under Martial Law. The President also suspended the privilege of the writ of habeas corpus.

The battle of Marawi ended five months later with Duterte declaring Marawi liberated from the influence of the terrorist group on October 17, a day after the military killed Abu Sayyaf leader Isnilon Hapilon and Omar Maute.

Congress approved on December 13, 2017 the President’s request of martial alw extension until December 31, 2018.

The mayor admitted that martial law challenged the city’s campaign as a prime investment and tourism destination in the country and assured potential investors that the city is safe.

“In response to this, our tourism and investment offices are working on a brand campaign to highlight Davao City as a peaceful destination,” she said.

She added a series of roadshows, targeting foreign chambers of commerce, tourism associations, and embassies, will also be organized to promote the city as a “safe and secured choice” for residents, visitors and investors. (Antonio L. Colina IV / MindaNews)