DAVAO ORIENTAL – Aiming to win the hearts and minds of the Indigenous Peoples while providing security in IP communities, the Philippine National Police has recently launched its IP Component Platoon in the province.
On Monday, May 18, 2020, 39 policemen were successfully deployed in a ceremony held at the Davao Oriental Police Provincial Office based in the City of Mati, Davao Oriental.
These policemen from the Provincial Mobile Force are primarily tasked to ensure the welfare of the Indigenous Peoples in the province while safeguarding the protection of their interests and rights.
As part of the preparation for their deployment, these policemen have undergone training, particularly laws involving the Indigenous Peoples.
Being IP members themselves from different tribes in Mindanao, these policemen understands and have a first-hand grasp of the plight and issues in the IP communities.
Tribal Chieftain of the CADT-01 in Sangab in the town of Caraga Christine Banugan said she is happy with the creation of the IP component platoon and considers them as a welcome development in their ancestral domain.
“I am happy to know that they are IPs themselves. They already know our tradition and our customary laws so it will not be difficult for them. And because they are members of the indigenous communities, they will easily adapt in the community,” she said.
She added that the IP component platoon is a big opportunity to foster a harmonized working relationship between the police and the community. She said that the police’s establishing a good association with the community is a major step in fighting criminality and most especially insurgency.
PNP Regional Director Police Brigadier General Filmore Escobal, in a message read by Deputy Regional Director for Administration Police Brigadier General Armando de Leon, stressed that the decades old insurgency problem cannot be solved through firefights as it did not lessen the capabilities of the enemies. Instead, these conflicts can be resolved by involving all members of the community in the efforts towards peace.
The Regional Director further said that “we are starting to manifest gains in the quest of gaining the elusive peace through collaborative efforts, and such is the thrust of the Whole-of-Nation Approach of President Rodrigo Duterte.”
DOPPO Provincial Director Police Colonel Joselito Loriza bid his IP policemen good luck to as he challenged them on their crucial task to keep peace in the IP communities.
City of Mati Mayor Michelle Rabat, represented by Engr. Rosendo Linsag, vowed her full support to the newly formed police group.
Davao Oriental Governor Nelson Dayanghirang said that the IP component platoon will be of enormous help in keeping the peace in the IP communities. Through their presence in the communities, the Communist insurgents will no longer easily convince the Ips to join their movement.
In his speech, he advised the IP policemen to respect and acknowledge the customary laws of the ancestral domains. “As soon as you will already be dispatched to your respective assignments, do not be surprised if the people in the community will be observing you. They are really keen observants, especially that you are new faces in the community. Your job is to show the government’s genuine service in order to win their hearts and minds. If you do, then you will get their support and earn their trust,” he said.
Meanwhile, the Governor expressed his support to the police force and the soldiers who remain true to their mission of protecting the people.
Among the other officials who witnessed the launching were PRO XI Chief Regional Community Affairs and Development Division Police Colonel Roel Flores, Alim Licayan from the Muslim Community Development Affairs Office; Mrs. Lilian Aquino, Action Officer of the National Commission on Indigenous Peoples Davao Oriental Office, Sultan Alan Manuel from the Provincial Sultanate Office, San Isidro Mayor Tina Yu, and 701st Brigade Deputy Commander Colonel Oliver Maquiling. By: Neela Duallo