AROUND 140 policemen from Luzon were sent to Northern Mindanao on Tuesday, June 27, to augment the police forces in both cities and to bolster police visibility as fighting in nearby Marawi City enters its sixth week.
Superintendent Lemuel Gonda, spokesperson of the Police Regional Office-Northern Mindanao, said 70 policemen will be assigned in Cagayan de Oro while the other half will be deployed in Iligan City.
These policemen are members of the Regional Public Safety Battalion of Police Regional Office-Central Luzon and Police Regional Office-Calabarzon.
The augmentation is part of the police's program to deploy personnel in conflict areas.
Gonda said the additional policemen will assist and man various checkpoints in Cagayan de Oro and Iligan cities.
"Ilang assignment is deployment sa mga checkpoints. Mao ni ang ingon ni Chief PNP Ronald Dela Rosa atong turn-over ceremony (They will be assigned in checkpoints as this was the instruction)," Gonda said.
Chief Inspector Mardy Hortillosa, spokesman of the Cagayan de Oro City Police Office (Cocpo), welcomes the augmentation as he admits Cocpo is facing a shortage of manpower.
Hortillosa explained that a checkpoint needs personnel more than the number of a platoon who will man the security inspections in three shifts a day.
"Ang usa ka platoon is more than 30 unya usahay kulangon pa gayud na kay 3 shifts unya 8 members each apiki gayud (A platoon is more than 30 and it is likely these will not be enough because there are 3 shifts)," Hortillosa said.
He added that other than the checkpoints, Cocpo needs more men to conduct mobile and beat patrols around vital installations and areas of convergence, including the reactionary units who will respond to emergency situations.
Hortillosa said once the augmentation arrives, the deployed personnel will be brief about the situation in the city and will be instructed with their respective assignments.
Hortillosa added no specific timeline as regards to the deployment of Luzon policemen.
"Wala pa ta kabalo kung kanus-a gayud sila taman ug aha gayud sila specific nga areas diri sa region (We still don't know until when they'll be here and where they will be assigned in the region)," Hortillosa said.
The Cocpo spokesperson urged them to extend their best efforts in carrying the mandate of the PNP to protect and serve the people and avoid doing things that could stain the image of the organization.
"Sa kapolisan nga ma-assign diri nga wala pa kabalo sa dagan sa pamolis sa dakbayan, ang atong hangyo nga buhaton nila kutob sa mahimo ug kung kinahanglan mo extend sa time para makaserbisyo especially panahon sa emergency (For policemen who will be assigned here and do not know how we run (our operations) here, we ask them to cooperate and if need to extend their services especially in time of emergency)," Hortillosa added.
Published in the SunStar Cagayan de Oro newspaper on June 28, 2017.