Mayor wants bigger police force for Davao City

DAVAO CITY (MindaNews / 06 February) – City Mayor Sara Duterte has asked the city council to pass a resolution supporting her request to the Philippine National Police (PNP) for the expansion of the Davao City Police Office.

Duterte had signed the proposal of city police director Senior Supt. Alexander Tagum to expand the city’s police force to secure a growing population.

Duterte said she hopes the expansion would be realized this year, although it would depend on the PNP’s resources.

“We need this expanded DCPO because the city is really big and the population of Davao City – residents and tourists – are increasing plus the fact that this is where the President lives,” Duterte said, referring to his president-father.

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

In a press release from the City Information Office, Tagum was quoted as saying the expansion is necessary because the city is underserved with an estimated ratio of one policeman per 864 individuals.

He said the DCPO needs 1,700 additional police personnel to decrease the current ratio to one policeman per 500 people and four more police stations.

The release added the DCPO has 12 precincts and, under the expansion proposal, seven precincts – Sta. Ana, San Pedro, Buhangin, Sasa, Talomo, Toril and Calinan – will be manned by officers with the rank of superintendent.

Two additional City Mobile Force Companies, comprising 108 personnel, will be formed to secure the city’s borders.

The expansion is in preparation for the proposed conversion of DCPO into a police district, the first outside Metro Manila.

During the 50th Annual Installation of Officers and Board of Trustees of the Davao City Chamber of Commerce and Industry last January 26, Mayor Duterte said the city needs more security forces to maintain peace and order and thwart threats of terrorism because it is getting more challenging to secure a city as big as Davao.

She said the growing population makes it difficult for the police to secure the whole of Davao.

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. We have a population which is as big as other big cities, except that they are smaller in terms of land area and they have more police forces,” she said.

She said security measures must be stepped up to protect the city from those who do not agree with the policies of the President.

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 Islamic State-inspired militants who belonged to the same group that attacked Marawi City on May 23 last year and engaged government forces in a five-month long urban warfare.

The President responded by placing the entire Mindanao under martial law and suspending the privilege of the writ of habeas corpus for persons suspected of rebellion.

The martial law declaration has been extended twice, the second one to last until December 31 this year, even after the “liberation” of Marawi with the death of the acknowledge brains of the siege, Omar Maute and Abu Sayyaf leader Isnilon Hapilon. (Antonio L. Colina IV/MindaNews)