CAGAYAN DE ORO CITY (MindaNews / 26 July) – Authorities turned down a proposal to recruit a company of Civilian Armed Forces Geographical Unit (CAFGU) to help secure the city from criminality and other threats.
Mayor Rolando Uy said he is not inclined to hire a company of 88 CAFGU personnel to augment the Army Task Force Oro to secure the city.
“It is not time to have a regular force of [Special CAFGU Active Auxiliaries or SCAA] personnel to help the police,” said Councilor Romeo Calizo, chair of the Sangguniang Panlungsod’s police and public safety committees.
The CAFGU was organized by the late former President Corazon C. Aquino in 1987 providing for a citizen armed force composed of volunteer reservists who are paid but not drafted.
The CAFGU is further subdivided into two groups – the CAFGU Active Auxiliaries (CAA), which are directly under the Army and receive allowances from the Armed Forces, and the Special CAFGU Active Auxiliaries (SCAA), which receive allowances from companies or local government units where they are assigned.
The plan to recruit CAFGUs was laid out during the July 21 security briefing held by Acting Mayor Edgar Cabanlas when Mayor Uy was in Manila at that time.
Representatives of Task Force Oro, an Army unit assigned to help secure Cagayan de Oro, said they lack the personnel and fuel to help the police in its law-enforcement duties.
They suggested that the city government employ a company of SCAA personnel to augment Task Force Oro, which only has 30 soldiers and officers.
The Army representatives said they would provide the 45-day training, uniforms, firearms and other equipment similar to Task Force Davao and Valencia City in Bukidnon that have the same arrangements with the Armed Forces of the Philippines.
Uy and Calizo said they would prefer the hiring of some 200 volunteers or “tanods” to augment the 10 police precincts in the city.
The mayor said the volunteers would be under the direct supervision of the Cagayan de Oro City Police Office who would provide the proper training.
He said under the plan proposed by Col. Aaron Mandia, city police director, each of the 10 police precincts would have 20 volunteers to help them maintain peace and order in their areas.
Uy said the plan would answer the problem of lack of personnel in the city police force.
At present, the police-civilian ratio is about 1:800, according to the Region 10 office of the Philippine National Police. Ideally, there should be one policeman for every 500 residents to better guard the community, it added.
“I am willing to support the plan of Col. Mandia than the plan to hire CAFGUs,” Uy said. (Froilan Gallardo / MindaNews)