Secretary of the Interior and Local Government Mar Roxas on Friday called on officials of the local government and the Philippine National Police (PNP) in South Cotabato to intensify the campaign against crime gangs to ensure the safety and security of the people in the province.
Roxas issued the call as he distributed the brand new patrol jeeps for towns in South Cotabato province during a simple ceremony held at the Protech Center in Koronadal City on Friday (May 22) afternoon.
“To our local government and police officials, let us intensify our campaign and crush these criminal gangs,” Roxas said in the local tongue.
Seven out of ten towns in the province immediately received the patrol jeeps, including Banga, Norala, T’boli, Tampakan, Tantangan, Lake Sebu, and Sto. Nino.
The municipalities of Surallah, Tupi, and Polomolok will receive their patrol jeeps next week.
“Lahat ng bayan magkakaroon ng patrol jeeps. Ito ay ipapamahagi ng walang pinipili kahit sino ka man o kahit anong kulay ng chaleco na suot mo,” Roxas said, as he handed to local chief executives the keys of the new patrol jeeps.
Increased mobility, faster response time
Police Chief Superintendent Lester Camba of the Police Regional Office 12 (PRO12) said that the distribution of the patrol jeeps in the SOCCSKSARGEN (South Cotabato, Cotabato, Sultan Kudarat, Sarangani, and General Santos City) region is timely and will boost the local police’s crime-fighting capabilities.
“Malaki ang maitutulong nito lalo na sa area ng South Cotabato dahil malalaki ang bayan dito. It will increase our mobility and improve our response time,” he explained.
“Sa amin sa Polomolok, isa lang ang ginagamit namin dahil ‘yung isang patrol car ay beyond repair na. Malaking tulong itong patrol jeep na ito dahil madadagdagan kami ng isa na pwedeng magamit. Merong 23 barangays ang Polomolok, at pati T’boli, dahil malayo, kami ang rumeresponde,” Police Superintendent Amante Q. Suriaga, the Polomolok Police chief said.
Peace and order, progress
Local officials in South Cotabato are grateful for being given the patrol jeeps.
Lake Sebu Mayor Antonio Fungan said it will help the police reach upland barangays, boosting peace and effort in areas seldom covered by patrolling policemen.
“Iyong malalayong lugar, mararating na nang mabilis ng ating mga pulis, lalo na sa mga matataas na barangay,” he said.
Polomolok Mayor Honey Lumayag-Matti said that the patrol jeep will boost her town’s projection of being an investment haven due to a relatively good peace and order situation, which has to be maintained given the increasing town population.
“We are planning to donate [to the local police] two patrol cars this year as well so itong patrol jeep plus iyong dalawa na bibilihin namin will show potential investor that business is safe. More business means more jobs for the people,” she said.
‘Not just statistics, crime is personal’
For Roxas, crime is not just statistics but more of a personal matter especially for the victims.
“Maaaring para sa iba, statistics lang ang krimen. Pero sa biktima, personal ito. Pinaghirapan nila at pinag-ipunan nila ang pera. Buhay at kabuhayan nila ang apektado sa bawat krimen na nagaganap. Hindi natin dapat payagan na mangyari ito,” Roxas said during an interview.
He also stressed that the government is now on track in fighting crime, crediting the ongoing PNP modernization program and the recent launch of Oplan Lambat-Sibat, a deliberate, programmatic and sustained approach in addressing criminality, which led to a record 60-percent decrease in crime incidence in Metro Manila over the past year.
“Sa ilalim ng Daang Matuwid na polisiya ng administrasyon, lahat ay magkakaroon ng isang patrol jeep. Sino ka man, nasaan ka man, hindi ka pababayaan, walang maiiwan, at hindi ko kayo kalilimutan,” Roxas said.