DILG tells mayors who want to hire armed guards: Follow procedure
THE DEPARTMENT of Interior and Local Government in Central Visayas (DILG-7) yesterday urged local chief executives in the region to conform to the procedure in hiring or acquiring additional armed security personnel and asking for police escorts.
DILG-7 Regional Director Rene Burdeos admitted that some mayors in the region have expressed their concern over their safety in the wake of the recent killings of two mayors in Luzon.
“Of course, they (the mayors) are worried. During our RPOC (Regional Peace and Order Council) meeting, some mayors have discussed this issue. We cannot take it away from them, but the general consensus is that they are worried and afraid,” Burdeos said.
Last Monday, during their flag raising activity, Tanauan City Mayor Antonio Halili was shot dead by a sniper. He sustained a gunshot wound on his chest. Halili was allegedly linked to illegal drug activities.
On Tuesday afternoon, another mayor, Ferdinand Bote of General Tinio town in Nueva Ecija, was ambushed and killed in Cabanatuan City, the province’s economic center.
The police are looking into the possible motives in the murder of Bote on the issues with quarrying in the town, family’s business ventures, and local politics.
Burdeos advised the mayors in Central Visayas that if they planned to request for additional police escorts, they have to undergo the process set by the Philippine National Police (PNP).
“The PNP has the so-called Police Security and Protection Group. They just have to follow the guidelines,” he added.
If they fail to secure police escorts, Burdeos said local chief executives could detail personnel from his or her local government’s Civil Security Unit (CSU) as bodyguard or escort.
“But if they bring firearms, they should be subjected to the PNP rules and regulation and make sure that they’ve acquired a license and permit to carry outside their residence, even if the firearm is owned by the LGU (Local Government Unit),” he said.
Central Visayas has 132 mayor from municipalities and cities.
Earlier, Tuburan Mayor Democrito Diamante reminded fellow mayors in Cebu’s town and cities, to be vigilant in securing themselves in the wake of the murders of two mayors in Luzon.
Diamante is the president of the League of Municipalities of the Philippines (LMP) Cebu chapter.
He also urged mayors to hire bodyguards to ensure their safety.
Likewise, in her regular press conference last Wednesday, Lapu-Lapu City Mayor Paz Radaza also admitted that she felt worried and afraid on these incidents.
“Deep inside, kuyawan gyud ko (I’m really afraid). But I don’t think that the killings were done without any reason. Mayor Halili was linked to drugs while Bote’s death is still under investigation,” Radaza said.
She also advised not just fellow politicians to immediately report to the nearest police station if they receive any form of threat.
Radaza revealed they would intensify their security measures, especially at the City Hall, in coordination with the PNP.
Senior Supt. Manuel Abrugena, Cebu Provincial Police Office (CPPO) director, said they would be ready to provide escorts to local chief executives who fear for their safety but they have to submit a request to the PNP, which, in turn, would assess if the threat is valid.
Abrugena added there are also accredited security agencies that have the capability to provide security escort services. These agencies are accredited only by the Police Security Protection Group (PSPG). “As of the moment there is no mayor yet who applied for a security escorts,” Abrugena said.
Chief Insp. Alfredo Simbol, operations officer of the PSPG in Central Visayas, told Cebu Daily News that they would give escorts only for those who have received death threats.
Those who want security escorts should send a letter request addressed to the director and channel to them waiting for the approval of the chief PNP. The PSPG will provide immediate escorts to the applicant if his life is put in danger upon his request for a temporary escorts and this may rebuked after a month when it has no probable cause. /WITH CORRESPONDENT BENJIE TALISIC
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