OFFICIALS of Lanao del Norte slammed the National Police Commission (Napolcom) on Thursday, July 6, a day after the commission stripped them of control over their respective police forces for supposedly failing to suppress terrorism in their localities.
Calling the resolution “sweeping, unfounded, and baseless,” the province’s governor, 17 of its mayors, and its two district representatives faced the media to respond to the Napolcom order.
Speaking in behalf of the group, Lanao del Norte Governor Imelda Quibranza-Dimaporo said security measures have been in place to ensure that extremists do not gain a foothold in their areas and to avoid a spillover of the fighting in Marawi City.
She said checkpoints have been immediately set up with the mayors' help to keep lawless elements out of the province.
"We call upon the Napolcom, the Department of Interior and Local Government (DILG), and even our dear president to reconsider and revoke the resolution issued withdrawing our deputization over the PNP (Philippine National Police), for we believe that we have exercised all efforts not only in protecting our constituents but also in ensuring that we support the president in its fight against terrorism and the war on drugs," the governor said.
Quibranza-Dimaporo also assailed the Napolcom resolution, pointing out that the police needs the local government's support.
She said the province's police force is undermanned and they need financial support from the local government units (LGUs) to augment their operational budgets such as for food and gasoline for their mobile cars.
"In Kapatagan, with over 60,000 population, they only have 28 policemen, and Lala municipality only has 30 policemen, this is why they need us. Without the local chief executives, I don't think the police in our province will be mobilized, because we are giving them the resources," she said.
First district Representative Khalid Dimaporo said he is thinking of calling Napolcom officials to Congress and to compel them to explain the basis of the resolution.
Khalid Dimaporo said he believed that with the local chief executives stripped of control over the local police, they will be “less effective on the ground.”
"I don't believe it is true and we will put it in public record that they are wrong in saying that there is rampant terroristic activities in Lanao del Norte because of our failure," Khalid Dimaporo said.
"There has to be command responsibility on the ground, when you strip the mayors, who does the police answer to? Is it all the way in Manila? Before handling something as urgent as terrorism or the war on drugs, then the command from Manila or Cagayan de Oro for instance, will be too late," he said.
Second district Representative Abdullah Dimaporo said the resolution targets Muslim officials.
"Why did they pick us? Are they saying that we are bad, that we are all ISIS, I think this is a show of discrimination of the government agency that has a very big responsibility in keeping peace and order in our country," Abdullah Dimaporo said.
According to the Napolcom resolution, there have been reports of local chief executives in Mindanao being involved in the illegal drug trade "and who are said to be providing support to the Maute Terrorist Group or other criminal elements in their jurisdiction."
The Napolcom approved the withdrawal of the deputation of: Governor Esmael Mangudadatu and 28 mayors in Maguindanao, Governor Mamintal Adiong Jr. and 37 mayors in Lanao del Sur, Governor Imelda Quibranza-Dimaporo and 22 mayors in Lanao del Norte, Governor Datu Pax Pakung Mangudadatu and 12 mayors in Sultan Kudarat, Governor Abdusakar Tan II and 13 mayors in Sulu Governor Hadjiman Salliman and 10 mayors in Basilan, Governor Nurbert Sahali, and 9 mayors in Tawi-Tawi, and Mayor Frances Cynthia Guiani-Sayadi of Cotabato City.
The Lanao del Norte mayors, who attended during Wednesday's press conference, include Allan Lim of Lala, Lorenzo Manigos of Kolambugan, Maros Mamay of Nunungan, Ulwan Dimaporo of Sultan Naga Dimaporo, Barry Baguio of Kapatagan, Rommel Arnado of Kauswagan, Maminta Dimakuta of Tagoloan, and Leoncio Bagol of Tubod.
Also in attendance were Paruk Azis of Sapad, Joselito Miquiabas of Bacolod, Rosa Olaffson of Baroy, Randy Macapil of Linamon, Aisha Asis of Matungao, Hadji Rakim Alingan of Pantar, Farhana Palawan of Poona Piagapo, Azizah Omar of Matampay, and Fatima Tomawis of Tangkal town.
Only the mayors of the towns of Baloi, Maigo, Munai, Pantao Ragat, and Salvador were not in attendance. (SunStar Cagayan de Oro)