INTERIOR and Local Government officer-in-charge Eduardo Año reminded anew barangay chairmen (village chief) to ensure that no barangay tanod (watchmen) under their supervision carry firearms while performing their duties.
“Bilang kayong mga Punong Barangay ang pumili, nagtalaga, at nangangasiwa ng inyong mga tanod, kayo rin ang may pananagutan sa paraan ng pagsasagawa ng katungkulan ng inyong mga tanod,” he said.
“Bagaman mahalaga ang papel ng mga tanod sa pagtulong sa pagbabantay at pagpapanatili ng kaayusan at seguridad sa mga komunidad, kailangan pa rin pong linawin at ipaalala na hindi sila otorisadong magdala at gumamit ng baril kahit pa ang armas ay personal nilang kagamitan at kahit pa mayroon silang permit to carry outside their residence,” he added.
Año said the watchmen can only use nightstick with teargas with belt and holster, handcuff with holster, whistle, flashlight, raincoat, rainboots, small notebooks and ballpens, first aid kits and other non-lethal gadgets while performing their duties.
If they feel they are under a potentially dangerous situation, watchmen should seek for the assistance of the police officers in their area.
The DILG chief cited Republic Act no. 10591, known as Comprehensive Firearms and Ammunition Regulation Act enacted in 2012, which revoked the authority of police auxiliary unit members such as barangay watchmen to carry firearms, which was previously allowed by Circular No. 2008-013 of the National Police Commission.
He said all village chiefs should ensure compliance to the order especially if they are the ones who issued firearms to his barangay tanods. Año said registered firearms of local government units shall only be issued to a government official or employee with a permanent plantilla position in the government.
“Ang mga tanod ay hindi po permanenteng mga manggagawa ng gobyerno kaya hindi sila maaaring gumamit ng armas maging iyong mga nakarehistrong baril ng LGU,” said Año.
“Ayaw na po nating may mapabalita pang tanod na sangkot sa paggamit ng baril kahit pa ikatwirang dahil ito sa kanyang pagganap ng kanyang trabaho sa barangay peace and order. Gawin po natin ang ating trabaho ng hindi lumalabag sa batas,” he added.
Last December, 10 policemen and two barangay tanods of Baranggay Addition Hills in Mandaluyong City fired upon a vehicle which was then rushing a shooting incident victim to the hospital. Two people were killed in the incident.
Investigation showed that the police received information that the people on board the said vehicle were suspects of a shooting incident.
When the police arrived on the scene, the village watchmen were already firing on the vehicle which prompted them to also shoot at it. They would later find out it was a case of mistaken identify.
The village watchmen and the police involved in the incident were relieved and placed under investigation. (SunStar Philippines)