CAGAYAN DE ORO CITY (Mike Banos / 27 Jul) Philippine National Police Deputy Director General for Operations Sr. Supt. Isidro S. Lapena on Thursday hailed President Gloria Arroyo's recent issuance of Executive Order No. 546 which gives the PNP a more active role in internal security operations.
"I strongly feel this is the best approach to fight the insurgency," Lapena told officers and personnel of PNP Regional Office in Northern Mindanao.
Lapena was here as guest of honor for the two day celebration of the feast of St. Ignatius of Loyola, which is marked by all police camps nationwide. "In tandem with the local governments which has the people's mandate and local resources to provide the people's basic needs, this represents a good shift in the campaign against communist insurgents."
Lapena said with EO 546, the PNP will have a shared responsibility in active partnership with the military. Whereas the PNP was previously more focused on intelligence gathering, this time they shall already be actively involved in operations especially in areas where local police personnel have the home court advantage of personally knowing the terrain and the local residents.
"We shall be responsible for the active defense of all our camps, stations and outposts while our regional mobile groups will be given areas where they can actively operate in partnership with military forces," Lapena added.
He also outlined the new tri-phased thrusts of the PNP under Director General Oscar Calderon which are focus on addressing terrorism, crime and insurgency.
"Intelligence gathering is the most important since it is a pro-active thrust aimed at preventing incidents by involving the entire community in identifying potential and real threats," he said.
Besides focusing on syndicates and other organized criminal groups involved in drug trafficking and kidnap-for-ransom, Lapena said the PNP will also focus on street crimes, especially on the local level, since it most affects the already disadvantage poor for whom the adverse effects of petty crimes such as pick pocketing, theft, akyat-bahay and extortion are multiplied.
After awarding medals of merit to eight outstanding police officers and personnel, Lapena also graced a pass-in-review rendered in his honor and later attended the blessing of Camp Alagar's newly renovated St. Ignatius of Loyola chapel.
He then proceeded to the village of Indahag where ground breaking rites at the off-base Camp Capistrano housing project where 23 hectares donated by the late Cagayan de Oro Mayor Pedro N. Roa and the heirs of patriot and revolutionary general Nicolas Capistrano and his wife Cecilia Castaneda will be subdivided for police personnel.
In the same rites, Chief Supt. Florante Baguio, police regional director, also announced that the Cagayan de Oro City Council has also approved the donation of a still to be identified one hectare lot of the city's property to be exclusively used for the housing needs of local police.
Lapena said the housing program is one the programs for the benefit of PNP personnel which was started by immediate past director general Arturo Lomibao and would be continued by Calderon.
Others include 1,000 scholarship slots for the schooling needs of PNP personnel nationwide in coordination with the Commission on Higher Education (CHEd), livelihood the provision of P250,000 seed money for a multi-purpose cooperative and a Free Legal Assistance Program to assist PNP officers and rank-and-file face charges in court brought as harassment against them by syndicates and other well-funded organized crime groups.