The Philippine Star

Ping: Police visibility better than tambay arrests

- By PAOLO ROMERO With Cecille Suerte Felipe, Romina Cabrera

Increased police visibility, including foot patrols, is better at preventing criminalit­y than just rounding up tambay or loiterers, Sen. Panfilo Lacson said yesterday.

Lacson, chairman of the Senate committee on public order and dangerous drugs, said the Duterte administra­tion seems to be focused more on crime suppressio­n than prevention.

“Crime suppressio­n is what you resort to if you were unable to prevent it, like robbery, so you have to solve it. If you can’t solve it, you’ve a problem,” the senator told dzBB.

“I have yet to see massive police visibility, which can be done at the station level,” he said, adding that foot patrols not only save fuel but also prevent crime since police officers are literally closer to the ground.

He recalled that when he was still chief of the Philippine National Police (PNP), he “borrowed” Philippine Marines to conduct foot patrols with the police, who apparently were embarrasse­d by the presence of snappy soldiers.

The result was a 73 percent reduction in petty crimes, like snatching and other forms of thievery.

“Other crimes like murder, robbery… they will happen so you must implement a good strategy not just rounding up tambays,” he said.

But the PNP has yet to receive a formal complaint of human rights violation in connection with the intensifie­d campaign against anti-smoking, drinking liquor, urinating in public and other similar ordinances.

PNP chief Director General Oscar Albayalde said critics always insinuate that police efforts to improve the peace and order situation in the country were actually targeting the poor.

“(These critics) would also complain about human rights violations but until now, we have not formally received any complaint (from alleged victims) or their relatives,” said Albayalde yesterday.

The PNP chief said even the poor have been praising police actions, which promote peace and order in the community, especially at night.

As this developed, rights group Karapatan yesterday slammed the worsening human rights conditions in the country as the Duterte administra­tion marked two years in office last Saturday.

Karapatan secretary-general Cristina Palabay said the country has been marred by a human rights catastroph­e in the two years of the Duterte presidency.

She said the administra­tion has implemente­d disastrous economic programs and brutal policies that have hit the poorest communitie­s.

“The kind of change that the Duterte regime promotes is definitely one that is spiraling into a human and people’s rights catastroph­e, one that ensures the rule of a thuggish dictator and the preservati­on of an oppressive social structure,” she said in a statement. –

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