IF it were a basketball game, the Philippine National Police won’t only be employing a “full-court press” against known terror groups but would practice the mantra of the winnable PBA and NBA teams: “offense is always better than defense”.
Under a new PNP program called Enhanced Managing Police Operations approved by PNP chief Director General Ronald ‘Bato’ M. dela Rosa, police will be fully launching both offensive and defensive actions to effectively address threats posed by the New People’s Army, the Abu Sayyaf and other terror groups in the countryside.
“All units are reminded and directed to sustain and beef-up law enforcement, security and safety activities. Expect possible ambushes and attacks to be launched by the NPA/threat groups,” PNP Director for Operations Director Camilo Pancratius P. Cascolan said in his memorandum released in the aftermath of a number of deadly NPA attacks on lightly-guarded police stations and patrols in the countryside over the past few months.
The NPA offensive has prompted President Duterte to make a pronouncement that he is set to declare the NPA as a “terror group” and will use the full might of the armed services to go after the leftist rebels and their supporters known for their perennial anti-government and anti-American stance.
According to Cascolan, Gen. Dela Rosa wanted an enhanced police preventive and prophylactic combat patrol across the country in coordination with the Armed Forces in addition to target-hardening of all police camps and other vital installations to prevent attacks from the NPA, the Abu Sayyaf Group and other Southern Philippines-based lawless elements including armed extortionists known for bombing their targets.
The PNP chief also ordered his men to establish border control “checkpoint and chokepoints” to ensure the safety and security of the public.
He also ordered the deployment of road and bus marshals and putting up of police assistance desks in strategic parts of the country as an added security measure. He also approved the conduct of social investigation by concerned units not only for intelligence networking but also to establish rapport with the community.
Cascolan said all police personnel must know the community they are in and get the people’s support since they are a very vital source of information when it comes to the suspicious movement of armed people. In the past, local residents played a key role in thwarting NPA attacks on police facilities after they immediately alerted local authorities of the preparation of suspected NPA guerrillas in their areas.
The PNP chief also said that as an added measure, police stations must install if possible accordion steel gates and mazes in their main doors to eliminate the element of surprise from NPA raids. He also barred the conduct of surprise visits and inspections of these facilities.
NPA rebels attacking PNP and AFP installations are known for wearing police and military uniforms and posing as government troops out to turn over an arrested suspect or coordinate their mission.
Thus, the PNP chief declared that patrolling and inspecting officers shall always be in proper uniform and in authorized police vehicles only. He also ordered the evaluation of the proper deployment of troops and the immediate conduct of different simulation exercises to ensure that all police personnel will know what to do in case of any violent enemy activity.