Council tackles Public Order and Safety Division legality

LEGAL basis of the Public Order and Safety Division (POSD) is now in question.

City Hall office personnel were summoned by the City Council to tackle the legality of the creation of the POSD in a resolution by Councilors Arthur Allad-iw and Isabelo Cosalan.

The invitation has been sent to the Office of the City Mayor, the City Budget Office, City Human Resource Office, City Legal Office and the POSD for representatives to appear before the legislative body to share insights on the existence of the POSD, its supervision and its management, rules of engagement that will aid in legislation for the council to come up with appropriate measures.

Both Allad-iw and Cosalan said "on several occasions, both present and past, the personnel of the POSD had been the subject of news reports and complaints by residents of Baguio on alleged questionable acts of their personnel."

Today, allegations of abuse still hound the POSD as Madino Codasi, the visually impaired man accosted and fined for jaywalking weeks ago, filed a complaint for violation of Republic Act (RA) 7277 as amended by RA 9442 or the Magna Carta for Disabled Persons, cyberlibel and libel against the POSD both in the courts and at the Commission on Human Rights.

Codasi is a flower vendor from La Trinidad town who struggles daily to make ends meet by selling blooms at the public market. His companion, a porter, was also carrying a big order of flower when they were crossing the street and accosted by the POSD.

The POSD called on both via megaphone and when they approached the duo, continued to reprimand verbally.

Allad-iw and Cosalan said that in the past term, the council invited the POSD and concerned officials to look into the alleged questioned acts and to come up with appropriate legislation that would improve the existence of the POSD.

The two city officials added that with the latest development concerning the POSD, there is a need to invite officials and offices concerned to appear in the August body, to share and review the POSD's basis of existence, supervision, rules of engagement in order to help the council come up with appropriate legislative action.

POSD was created through an executive order by former mayor Mauricio Domogan. It falls directly under the chief executive's office without any law being created by the City Council nor clear rules of engagement backing its operation and existence.

It was in 2019 when former councilor Edgar Avila said the council should now legislate prescribed rules of engagement for POSD. Included in the ordinance will be the legal basis for its creation as an office, qualifications and standards for its personnel.

On that year, taho vendor Benedick Seño, with then POSD head Policarpio Cambod, faced the council as POSD rules and the legality was tackled in an effort to streamline rules of engagement, as well as legality.


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