No progress without peace and order
posted 24-Jun-2019  ·  
1,291 views  ·   0 comments  ·  

Expectedly, the turnover of 11 firearms by the local government unit of Virac to the Virac municipal police station drew not only praise but also criticism.

The faultfinders, particularly on social media, wondered why the administration of Mayor Samuel Laynes has to give weapons to the Philippine National Police which they claim has enough funds of its own. They said the money could have been better spent for other necessities like schools.

When the Duterte administration crafted the Philippine Development Plan for 2017-2022, it envisioned laying a solid foundation to its development thrusts of inclusive growth, a high-thrust society, and a globally competitive economy, supported by a solid foundation of peace, security, public order and safety.

The PDP encourages collaboration among local government units, law enforcement and the local community to effectively maintain peace and order, by empowering communities by increasing their capacity to address conflict and reduce their vulnerabilities, as well as strengthening government peace and development institutions and mechanisms to increase their responsiveness to peace, conflict and security issues.

Through the Peace and Order Council (POC) chaired by the mayor and with the vice mayor as vice chair, a platform is provided for a stronger collaboration between the three parties in fighting criminality, illegal drugs, insurgency and violent extremism, This enables the harmonization and effective implementation of peace and order and public safety activities.

Such is the importance of the POC in the overall effort that the DILG last April began conducting a Performance Audit to assess the performance of 17 Regional POCs, 81 Provincial POCs, 145 City POCs and 1,489 municipal POCs on their functionality, determine their best practices initiated and determine possible interventions, among others.

Pursuant to the provisions of the Local Government Code of 1991 as well as related laws such as Republic Act 9165, every LGU is mandated to allocate a portion of its annual budget for its share in the maintenance of peace and order, as specified in the three-year, term-based Peace and Order and Public Safety (POPS) Plan.

It is this POPS Plan, crafted by the Virac Peace and Order Council in late 2016, that is the basis for the donation of much-needed equipment and firearms to the local police.

From a mere P300,000 allocated by previous administrations for the fuel needs of the Virac police station, the new POPS Plan provided a yearly P5-million funding for various peace and order and public safety programs and projects, including the conduct of barangay drug clearing operations and the rehabilitation of drug users.

It is this very solid support for the police that has been missing for so long in the collaboration between the PNP and the LGUs. For decades, most local governments have been content with handing out fuel slips to police stations for their patrol needs and yet demanding that the law enforcers eliminate crime with such meagre support.

For last week’s very tangible expression of support, it is not only the police who should thank the Laynes administration and its Peace and Order Council, but also the people who will ultimately benefit from it all.

It should be realized that Virac, or any of the other 10 towns on the island, would not prosper if its constituents live in fear or anxiety in an atmosphere ruled by crime and disorder.

The capital town only has about 60 police officers in the Virac MPS, far short of the 150 or so needed to comply with the national standard of 1 policeman for every 500 residents.

There may not be enough police officers to patrol every square kilometer of the town, but at least they have proper firearms and equipment to deal with criminals and law breakers, thanks to the Laynes administration.

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