DILG: No to arming of 'tanods,' traffic enforcers-A A +A
Friday, September 7, 2012
MANILA -- The Department of Interior and Local Government (DILG) junked proposals to arm barangay tanods or village watchmen and traffic enforcers during a recent hearing held by the House committee on appropriations.
Executive Secretary Paquito Ochoa Jr., also the acting DILG Secretary, said tanods will remain as force multipliers of the Philippine National Police (PNP)—an attached agency of the DILG—in maintaining peace and order in cities and municipalities.
The proposal to arm village watchmen came from Cebu City Representative Tomas Osmeña, saying tanods can help in the peacekeeping functions of the PNP.
"How come tanods can't be trained to use firearms when security guards are? I don't see why we cannot do it in our barangay tanods," Osmeña, vice chairperson of the House appropriations committee, told the DILG.
In a text message, Osmeña said the DILG should "protect the poor who cannot afford security guards."
"There isn't enough policemen. When my father was mayor, he attained his objective of having 1,000 policemen. That was in 1965. It's now 2012 and Cebu City now has 900 (policemen)," he pointed out.
The PNP has recently finished the bidding for the procurement of 59,900 units of automatic pistols for its personnel.
To improve the police-to-population ratio, Ochoa earlier said the Budget department is allotting a P487.107-million budget for the hiring of 3,000 new policemen next year.
Meanwhile, PNP Director General Nicanor Bartolome was also against the proposal of Metropolitan Manila Development Authority (MMDA) chairman Francis Tolentino to arm his agency's traffic enforcers.
Eastern Samar Representative Ben Evardone, chairman of the House committee on public information, agreed with Bartolome's position.
"It would be very dangerous to arm people who are trained not to ensure peace and order but to enforce traffic laws. Arming MMDA traffic enforcers may bring more problems in the streets. I think what is needed is for the MMDA to strictly enforce traffic rules and regulations," Evardone said in a text message. (Kathrina Alvarez/Sunnex)