AN ORDINANCE proposed by Councilor Edgar Avila seeks to create a new task force with clear operating guidelines to replace the Public Order and Security Department (POSD) as a result of a conflict involving a taho (soya pudding) vendor.
Avila’s measure proposes to create the Mayor’s Anti-Crime Task and Security Force (MACTSF) in lieu of the POSD.
The measure also defines its purpose, functions and duties, provides for personnel standards and qualifications, and establishes the rules of engagement.
“There is a need to formally clothe such department with legal authority and define its mission, functions and responsibilities in coordination with other concerned offices needed to be linked, coordinated and complemented to effectively combat crime and other violations of city ordinances,” Avila said.
Avila said his proposed ordinance is a result of the controversy surrounding a taho vendor and the POSD weeks ago. Both parties were invited to the City Council to shed light on the incident last February 2 at the Botanical Garden.
The City Legal team also investigated the matter and found that no abuse was committed by the POSD against the vendor.
The legal team cited a number of national and local laws that justified the existence of the POSD and spelled out its functions to implement laws and ordinances relevant to illegal structures and illegal peddling along the city’s right-of-ways and parks.
However, Avila said there was no ticket citation issued, unnecessary violence; no visible identification card (ID) of POSD; no permission from taxicab driver to open his trunk and seize the vendor’s wares.
Avila said “despite the decision of the City Legal, the summons of the Council was in aid of legislation and productive because of the introduction of the Ordinance.”
The proposed measure underscores the establishment of a MACTSF is necessary to concretize cooperation, concerted operations and data resource sharing between and among local agencies involved in the crusade against crime.
As proposed in the measure, the powers and functions of the MACTSF include: implementation of laws; and establish, through the use of modern information and telecommunications technology, a shared central database among government agencies for information on criminals, methodologies, arrests and convictions on the following crime or violations of ordinances like anti-squatting, anti-vending, anti-smoking, anti-vice, anti-mendicancy and all other ordinances of the City of Baguio; illicit trafficking of narcotic drugs and psychotropic substances; trafficking in persons; other violations, crimes, offenses that have an impact on the stability and security of the city.
Operating guidelines of the MACTSF include procedure on operations like a blotter report and basic requirements of police intervention operations like riding a marked vehicle led by an assistant for operations or a Philippine National Police (PNP) or Philippine Army non-commissioned officer with personnel in proper uniform and IDs.
Warning by use of megaphones is also stipulated in the new law to be used during actual intervention operations, if feasible, the team leader will use all peaceful means, including the use of megaphone or any other similar means, to warn the offenders to stop and peacefully comply.
A “no firearms” rule is also applied and “no deadly weapons” during operations.
PNP and Army personnel detailed with the MACTSF will be present at all operations conducted.
Rules on use of force also applies in the proposed ordinance when approved, stating “excessive use of force will be avoided. The Doctrines of Self-Defense, Defense of Relative, and Defense of Stranger may however apply where the unlawful aggression is initiated by a party poses an imminent danger of death or serious physical injury to the police or other persons.”