To change Tomas’ decision, let SWAT patrol streets

By Morexette Marie B. Erram |August 08,2018 - 10:38 PM

UNLESS operatives from the Special Weapons and Tactics (SWAT) will be deployed alongside the Mobile Patrol Group (MPG), the Cebu City Government will no longer shoulder the expenses needed for the maintenance of city-owned vehicles used by the police.

Cebu City Mayor Tomas Osmeña announced yesterday that he has already issued a written order to the Department of General Services (DGS) directing it not to pay for the maintenance of around 90 vehicles the city has assigned to the police.

A DGS staff however, said that Osmeña has yet to sign the order.

The mayor’s announcement came a day after Cebu City Police Office (CCPO) director, Senior Supt. Royina Garma, requested Osmeña to reconsider his decision.

But Osmeña said he would only change his mind if the SWAT team will be incorporated with the MPG.

Integrate SWAT and MPG

Osmeña said he wanted to mobilize around 60 to 80 of CCPO’s SWAT team with the MPG as a means to deter crimes.

He revealed that he got the idea after observing that the SWAT in Los Angeles, California are the ones patrolling the streets.

Osmeña said that on the contrary, SWAT personnel in Cebu City are only confined to their headquarters, “waiting to respond to anything.”

“It would help a great deal if the best policemen are mobilized. It would help a great deal that the best-trained policemen are mobilized,” he stressed.
Garma, on Monday, said she will have to talk with Osmeña soon on the latter’s request since it involved a lot of technicalities.

She added that the SWAT is a specialized unit, and that this team would only come in if the police had already exhausted all other units in an operation.

She said the SWAT specializes in hostage negotiations and are snipers while the MPG is an assert team and serves as first responders.

Garma earlier said that Osmeña’s decision to cut the city’s support to the police would greatly affect the latter’s effectivity and capability.

The city maintains, provides fuel subsidy, and processes the registration of all vehicles they deployed to the police as a form of assistance for their operations.

DGS chief Ronald Malacora said they usually spend around P40,000 to P90,000 annually for the maintenance and repair of each vehicle.

Although he has yet receive a copy of the order, Malacora said their office will have to immediately abide with Osmeña’s instructions.

“Well, if he announced that he has a written order to formalize everything, then we will stop accepting maintenance or repair requests from the police,” said Malacora.

“Usually, DGS automatically does the maintenance and repairs once the police places them inside the motor pool (in the South Road Properties),” explained Malacora.

He added that it’s up to the city government to do and pay the expenses needed for repairs.

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