PNP sees bigger role in internal security ops

MANILA The Philippine National Police (PNP) is looking at a larger role in internal security operations in the future, PNP Police Director General Oscar Albayalde said Monday.

"Unti-unti na 'yan na bumabalik sa atin with regards to Luzon and Visayas area. Sa Mindanao iba kasi yung problem doon (It is gradually being returned to the PNP with regards to Luzon and Visayas. In Mindanao, its a different problem)," Albayalde replied to reporters' question on at what point will the PNP be handling counter-insurgency operations.

The PNP chief explained that the move to shift training for new recruits to commando training is partly to prepare the PNP in taking over internal security operations from the Armed Forces of the Philippines.

Meanwhile, the PNP chief added that barangay officials will have to undergo the usual screening process for gun owners in case the proposed plan to arm them as an augmentation force pushes through.

"Yung ating mga (As for our) barangay officials, just like ordinary citizens of the Philippines, kung talagang qualified sila (if they are really qualified) to possess firearms, then pwede naman sila (it is possible). Meron naman silang (They have a) privilege to possess firearms kung talagang makita natin na qualified sila to (if we see that they are qualified to) possess firearms," Albayalde said.

Albayalde said arming barangay officials will be up to the Department of the Interior and Local Government (DILG) and not the PNP which, according to him, is presently short of firearms for its personnel.

"Kung talagang magkaroon ng directive ng ating (If there will be a directive from the) DILG to arm them, then nasa kanila na 'yun (it's up to them) but for us we cannot provide the firearms dahil kami nga kulang pa sa (because we are short of) firearms. It will not come from the PNP,"

Albayalde said like civilians who secured permits to carry firearms outside of residence, barangay officials who secure similar permits when armed are not authorized for "open carry" and must conceal their weapons when outside their homes. (PNA)

Source: Philippine News Agency