CEBU Gov. Gwendolyn Garcia created the Cebu Provincial Inter-agency Task Force on Criminality through Executive Order (EO) 9. 

Garcia, who will be its chairperson, can appoint a vice-chairperson to take her place in her absence.

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The task force, which has 18 members, will include Provincial Board (PB) member Sun Shimura, who heads the committee on peace and order, Police Regional Director Ager Ontog and National Bureau of Investigation (NBI) 7 Director Edward Villarta. 

The five-page EO also states the task force may call upon other government agencies for assistance for the effective and efficient performance of its duties.

It has five divisions: enforcement and investigation, prosecution and legal, rewards and incentives, public relations and special projects.

Need

Seeing the need for the Province to lead in confronting the peace and order situation, the governor issed the EO, which took effect immediately.

The Province will provide for the funding and logistical support.

The primary objective of the task force is to minimize, if not eradicate, criminality in the province of Cebu.

“Recent happenings in the Province of Cebu, including high-profile crimes, have shown that criminality has now raised its ugly head and has threatened the lives, safety, security and the economic well-being of the Cebuano community,” the EO stated.

Priority

Police Regional Office 7 Director Ager Ontog Jr. said the task force will

prioritize motorcycle-riding guns-for-hire.

Ontog said he hopes that the force, being the first of its kind, he hopes this will serve as a template for other areas.

“The ball is in our hands to make it work,” said Ontog.

Garcia, on the other hand, said, “All forms of criminality, but the most publicized ones are these recent motorcycle-riding guns-for-hire. This will be one of the topics that we will be focusing on. We will (also) be encouraging the informants to work with us.”

“We recognize the risks, we should at least make it worth their while to give us valuable information that will lead to the capture of these perpetrators or better still, that will preempt the commission of the crime,” Garcia said in a press

conference, in the presence of Ontog and Director Villarta.

Potential areas

Meanwhile, Cebu City Police Office (CCPO) Director Patrocinio Comendador Jr. and acting Cebu Provincial Police Office Director Erson Digal said the creation of the task group was initiated because of the recent spate of killings and the proliferation of loose firearms.

Comendador said Danao City has been identified as one of the reported sources of loose firearms, but these contraband reach Cebu City.

He said each member of the inter-agency task group has been tasked to come up with their own ideas about their responsibilities.

Another meeting will soon be convened by Gov. Garcia for consolidation of ideas, Comendador said.

Reward system

Digal, on the other hand, said one of the proposed measures to account for the loose firearms is the reward system.

The proposed cash reward would range from P5,000 to P10,000 depending on the caliber of the accounted firearms.

Digal said Garcia is yet to approve the amount recommended by the police.

The governor, on the other hand, said there will be rewards or incentives that might entice informants to come forward, although she did not disclose any figure. She said protection of informants is also being considered.

She said incentives will be taken from the peace and order funds, under the Office of the Governor, to make these easier to release.

Digal, on the other hand, said that to prevent the cash reward from getting exploited by some unscrupulous people, a validation shall be initiated by the task group, before it will be granted to the informant.