Wednesday, February 8, 2017

Sorsogon police credits community support for its lowest crime index volume in Bicol
By Jorge Hallare

LEGAZPI CITY, Feb. 8 (PNA) —- A ranking official of the Police Regional Office in Bicol (PRO5) cited efforts of the Provincial Police Office (PPO) of Sorsogon in enlisting community participation that has helped it reduce the crime incidents recorded in its area from 2015 to 2016, the lowest in the region.

Senior Supt. Ma. Luisa Calubaquib, spokesperson of PRO5 based in Camp Simeon Ola in this city, said there was a 39 percent decrease in the crime index volume of Sorsogon, such that from 597 in 2015, it dropped to 236 in 2016.

She said Masbate PPO is second with a 34.35 percent decrease, from 1,441 in 2015 to 946 in 2016; third is Albay PPO at 33.53 percent decrease, from 2,177 in 2015 to 1,447 in 2016.

The crime index volume within the two-year period covered a range of crimes such as murder, homicide, physical injury, rape, robbery, theft and carnapping.

Calubaquib cited how active community support and participation has made Sorsogon PPO effective in implementing its various programs and projects to curb crime.

“The academe, media, non-government organizations and local government units, from the municipal up to the barangay level, are involved,” said Calubaquib.

Sr. Supt. Ronaldo Cabral, director of Sorsogon PPO, said they are targeting to decrease the crime index volume to an average of 10 percent monthly to assure continued peace and order in the province and make it a safe place for its citizens.

“Whatever we are enjoying nowadays is a collective effort of the Philippine National Police, community and other organizations,” he said.

Cabral cited their PPO’s achievements in the government’s anti-illegal drug campaign for helping curb the number of crime incidents, particularly in the last half of the previous year.

Data from the Philippine Drug Enforcement Agency (PDEA) showed that in June 2016, 325 or 60.1 percent of the 541 barangays (villages) in Sorsogon were drug-affected.

Current data, however, showed that 317 barangays or 97.5 percent were declared “cleared” of the illegal drug problem based on the parameters set by the Dangerous Drugs Board or DDB.

“Aside from the list of drug-affected barangays given to us by PDEA we concentrated even on those barangays ‘not included’ in the list,” said Cabral.

He said that among the 14 municipalities and one city of the province, 13 municipalities have been declared cleared by the DDB.

“Sorsogon City and Bulan town, each with 64 villages, will likely be declared ‘drug-cleared’ on the second week of February,” he said.

Calubaquib earlier explained that the provincial police offices use the term “drug-clear” as only PDEA has the authority to declare a barangay as “drug-free.”

Cabral has implemented what he calls an "add-on scheme" to be able to declare a town or barangay as “drug-cleared".

The scheme is unlike the usual declaration made when barangays are declared clear of the drug problem as the provincial police has decided to make public announcements in village plazas.

“But before the public announcement, the villagers are made aware through broadcast media, social media and barangay council,” said Cabral.

He said this gives the public the chance to attest and comment through text or by calling the hotline numbers that the barangay could really be declared as drug-cleared.

“The chief of police will be the one who will announce it in front of the public so that if there is a negative reaction from the villagers, the PPO will not pursue the declaration,” said Cabral.

He said the public must agree with the PPO’s pronouncement.

Cabral said the program he designed before a village could be declared as cleared of drugs combines the qualitative and quantitative approaches.

“There is method to validate if the barangays could be deemed clear of drugs,” he said.

Cabral cited that enumerators from Sorsogon State College initially conducts surveys to check the real situation in the barangays.

Then, the PPO conducts a massive awareness program through radio programs in the province, internet and in the village council.

An ocular inspection that follows is done with Sorsogon PPO’s Deputy Director Vicente Marpuri Jr. heading the group conducting an “on-sight survey and validation.”

Cabral said after a barangay has been declared as drug-clear, a "diagnostic monitoring team" continues the monitoring of the villages.

This team is composed of the PNP's anti-illegal drug monitoring council, barangay anti-drug abuse council or BADAC, PDEA and auxiliary groups such as the "Mamamayan Ayaw sa Iligal na Droga" or Masa Masid.

A report on Masa-Masid, a group of volunteers now being organized and supervised by the Department of Interior and Local Government in Bicol in the village level in the entire Bicol region, has been discussed in the recent Regional Peace and Order Council presided by Legazpi City Mayor Noel E. Rosal.

Cabral added that he is also obliged, along with the chiefs of police of the towns, to “go out and talk to five barangay chiefs or villagers a day” so they can have camaraderie and gain vital information in securing peace and order in the barangay.

He said the provincial police has also organized MAYAD or "Mag aaral Ayaw sa Droga," MAYAD-Facebook for crowd sourcing against illegal drugs, "Elder Kontra Krimen" and "Kabalikat Kontra Droga" consisting of radio and civic groups.

The provincial government through Governor Bobbet Lee-Rodrigueza has created Sorsogon Province Against illegal Drugs and Crime and Corruption or SPADACC to support these organizations created by the provincial police.

In the days to come, Sorsogon PPO will launch its newest project called "One Sorsogon Project,” which engages every citizen of the province to help in the fight against illegal drugs.

“The plan is to solicit one million signatures of Sorsoganons and even of those visitors to the province who want to support the fight against illegal drugs and crimes,” said Cabral.

In his report to PRO5, Cabral said that as early as September last year, Sorsogon PPO was able to arrest and convince all the 463 drug personalities in the watch list of PDEA to surrender.

To date, the PPO has 2,696 surrenderers (2,367 users; 329 pushers); of whom 391 were on the drug watch list while 2,305 were newly identified.

Calubaquib said the best practices of Sorsogon PPO are now replicated by the other PPOs in the region so they could also attain a low crime index volume in the months ahead.

PRO5 records showed that Camarines Norte PPO showed a 20.54 percent decrease in its crime index volume, from 1,022 in 2015 to 812 in 2016. Catanduanes PPO is fifth with a 20.62 percent decrease, from 514 in 2015 to 408 in 2016.

The same records showed Camarines Sur PPO with an 8.27 percent decrease, from 3,373 in 2016 to 3,094 in 2016 while the Naga City Police Office (NCPO) showed a 0.71 percent decrease, from 2,527 in 2015 to 2,545 in 2016.

Naga City is an independent component city and its NCPO has been categorized in the same level as the six PPOs in the region. The city’s police chief has a rank of Senior Superintendent similar to the chiefs of police of the other PPOs.

Calubaquib said in the Bicol region, there has been a 17.5 percent decrease in the total crime index volume over the two-year period, such that from 11,651 in 2015, it decreased to 9,614 in 2016. (PNA) LAP/GVR/JH/CBD