MABALACAT City Mayor Crisostomo Garbo has clarified that the arming of the police auxiliary force the City Government is organizing is part of the plan to augment the police in terms of crime prevention and maintenance of peace and order.
But the newly-reelected mayor said it is still up to the Philippine National Police (PNP) and the Department of the Interior and Local Government (DILG) if the auxiliaries will be allowed to carry weapons, particularly hand guns.
Garbo issued the statement in reaction to negative reports about the auxiliary force.
"They will be properly trained and we will be requesting them to be armed. If they will not be allowed, so be it. We are just thinking about it. We are just in the planning stage as of now," Garbo said.
He said the local government started recruiting members of the auxiliary group.
"We are already screening applicants who are 30 years old and below from different barangays," Garbo said.
After passing the screening and training, the auxiliary personnel will be empowered to be members of the local police force, he added.
"They are under my office but they are under the direct supervision of the chief of police. And they are augmentation also to the Bantay Bayan to strengthen the barangay peace keeping forces especially in maintaining peace and order in their respective villages," Garbo said.
Members of the auxiliary force will be integrated to regular personnel of the city police, he added.
"It would be better if they will be allowed to be armed," he said.
"Applicants should not have derogatory and police records. They were not involved in any petty crimes. They are not drug users, they are not involved in drug pushing. They physically and psychologically fit with good moral character and at least high school graduate," Garbo added.
The auxiliary personnel will receive a monthly salary of P15,000 each, the mayor added.
"We are expecting like 195 [auxiliary forces]. The number of men will depend on the size of the barangays. In small barangays, we will get five and in big barangays, we will recruit 10. But in Dau, which is a big and progressive village, we will get 20," Garbo said.
The auxiliary forces, with proper uniforms and equipment, will be dispatched in the barangays to monitor peace and order, he said.
The local government has set aside five vehicles and communication equipment for the auxiliary force.
"They will assist in actual police operations as augmentation," Garbo said.
If the proposal of arming the auxiliary forces is not approved, Garbo said the local government will procure pepper spray or tear gas for their self defense.
Meanwhile, the City Government turned over on Monday, May 27, over 18 firearms, 25 bullet-proof vest, and two patrol cars to the local police as part of their peace and order program.
"These will boost the capability of our city police as they fulfill their mandate. These are crucial in achieving a self-sustained police force," Garbo said.
Police Lieutenant Colonel Oscar Villasis, chief of Mabalacat police, formally received the firearms, vest, and patrol cars during the flag ceremony at the city hall Monday, May 27.
The police head thanked the City Government and Garbo for the support.
"This is another important contribution to the campaign in the city, especially to the war against drugs," Villasis said. "We commit to the local government and constituents of Mabalacat that we shall serve with utmost dedication worthy of the support they have given us."