Solons: Arm­ing brgy chiefs will be ‘recipe for dis­as­ter’

Cebu Daily News - - ISLANDS - INQUIRER.NET

Op­po­si­tion law­mak­ers have ex­pressed fear that arm­ing barangay (vil­lage) cap­tains would be a “recipe for dis­as­ter” and could only lead to more abuse and vi­o­lence in lo­cal vil­lages in the coun­try.

At the oath-tak­ing of newly elected barangay of­fi­cials of Re­gion VII on Thurs­day night in Cebu, Pres­i­dent Ro­drigo Duterte said he was con­sid­er­ing arm­ing barangay chiefs to en­sure their pro­tec­tion in the war against il­le­gal nar­cotics and crim­i­nal­ity.

He also said he would give his full sup­port to barangay of­fi­cials who would get in trou­ble for help­ing the govern­ment in the fight against il­le­gal drugs.

Philip­pine Na­tional Po­lice Chief Dir. Gen. Os­car Al­bay­alde on Wed­nes­day said he sup­ports Duterte’s idea al­though the De­part­ment of the In­te­rior and Lo­cal Govern­ment would de­cide if it would be im­ple­mented.

How­ever, Ak­bayan Rep. Tom Vil­larin said this plan “be­comes a prob­lem and not the so­lu­tion.”

“With loose guns al­ready a big prob­lem, al­low­ing more firearms even if li­censed would per­pet­u­ate a cul­ture of vi­o­lence and abuse of power by per­sons of au­thor­ity of which punong barangays are con­sid­ered as such,” he said.

“In­stead of be­ing peaceful me­di­a­tors, con­cil­ia­tors or ar­bi­tra­tors, you will turn them into armed en­forcers or worse, armed goons of politi­cians. It goes against the in­tent and spirit of the Lo­cal Govern­ment Code and the barangay jus­tice sys­tem,” he added.

As a for­mer gov­er­nor and mayor, Ifu­gao Rep. Teddy Baguilat said he knows that barangay of­fi­cials are “not equipped to do law en­force­ment us­ing guns.”

“They don’t have the skill, ori­en­ta­tion and ed­u­ca­tion. Their pri­mary task in law en­force­ment is to act as mon­i­tors for the po­lice, help en­force lo­cal or­di­nances and re­port the more se­ri­ous crimes to ca­pa­ble law en­forcers,” he pointed out.

Mean­while, Mag­dalo Rep. Gary Ale­jano, sug­gest­edthatthe­gov­ern­ment­fo­cus on equip­ping the po­lice force with the right equip­ment and train­ing.

“Ku­lang na ku­lang pa rin ang at­ing mga ka­pulisan hang­gang ngayon. Kahit nga may train­ing ang at­ing mga pulis nagkakaprob­lema pa lalo na kung yung wala o lim- itado ang karanasan at pagsasanay ng mga opisyales ng barangay,” he said.

“Mahigit 300 thou­sand la­hat ito kung kasama ang mga ka­gawad sa buong bansa. This will have an ef­fect of mil­i­ta­riz­ing the whole coun­try and with the same mind­set of killing now we could ex­pect that the whole coun­try would be­come a killing field,” he added.

Caloocan City 2nd District Rep. Edgar Erice has also warned that this sce­nario may lead to “cre­at­ing a private army of political king­pins in cities, prov­inces and mu­nic­i­pal­i­ties.”/

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