CONGRATULATIONS are in order for the Police Regional Office 4-B headed by Chief Superintendent Ringo Licup for being the 1st police regional unit to conduct ‘localized peace talks’ in the country amid the Duterte government’s continuing program to finally seek an end to the decades-old communist insurgency. I believe that the PRO4-B‘s move has already caught the attention of the Philippine National Police leadership headed by General Oscar Albayalde.
On Friday last week, I learned that Licup and local Army officials in Mimaropa region ‘pioneered’ the conduct of localized peace talks with 50 barangay chairpersons in two municipalities in Oriental Mindoro known for a considerable presence of New People’s Army guerrillas.
The pioneering talks in Mimaropa region is now being replicated by other police regional offices including those in Mindanao where NPA rebels are known for their rampant collection of so-called ‘revolutionary taxes’ from mining and logging firms and other businessmen.
It’s a reality that those rejecting the NPA demand are being subjected to harassment and arson attacks that thru the years have resulted in unimaginable deaths and injuries and destruction of hundreds of millions, if not billions of pesos worth of equipment, infrastructure and other facilities.
Kudos to the PRO4-B for their pioneering move minus the presence of the so-called ‘trapos.’ Licup, a member of Philippine Military Academy ‘Hinirang’ Class of 1987 told me that they have started talking with local officials in Mimaropa region as early as before the start of the Sangguniang Kabataan and Barangay elections last May to convey the intention of the President to offer the rebels the hand of peace within the ambit of six conditions set by the government.
The President’s conditions are as follows: that the peace talks should be held in the country; that there will be no coalition government; that any agreed ceasefire between the two groups will hold’ that there will no ‘3rd party facilitators; that there will be no collection of revolutionary taxes and conduct of extortion and arson activities by the guerrillas; and that the NPA must limit the movement of their members within their camps and areas only.
Licup said that about 50 barangay chairmen from the towns of Bongabong and Bulalacao in Mindoro Oriental showed up at the PRO4-B headquarters to discuss the approved localized peace talks guidelines with him and Army’s 203rd Brigade commander, Brigadier General Antonio G. Parlade Jr who is also the concurrent Senior Military Adviser on Peace Process.
The presence of the barangay officials is crucial in the peace talks since they and their constituents are the ones directly affected by NPA atrocities and skirmishes between the rebels and security forces. For one, Oriental Mindoro has been a witness to a number of NPA offensive and other atrocities including arson attacks and liquidation of police, military and suspected government informants in the past.
WHY APOLOGIZE FOR GIVING ANTI-RAPE TIPS?
I’M posing this question to the Angono Municipal Police Station which was forced to offer a public apology over the fuzz created by its anti-rape safety tips which is now no longer available on its Facebook page. Many officials asked the same question after Angono police chief, Superintendent Ruben Pequero was forced to apologize for an act which in the 1st place was even defended by Gen. Albayalde.
The Angono police are not the first to come under fire from netizens and women’s group for dealing on the said issue. I still remember that a few weeks ago, my friend, popular ABS-CBN radio commentator Anthony Taverna also got the ire of netizens for a similar remark he aired over his radio program.
Fine. No argument about that. But although rape cases are down in the country, I don’t think that it won’t stop all adult Filipinos including members of the police force and men from offering ‘both fatherly and brotherly’ advice to Filipinas, young students in particular to keep them safe and away from sex offenders who are lurking in the dark, some of them either total strangers.
Let me tell you that I have written dozens, if not hundreds of PNP travel safety advisories for the general public, women and young girls included. They include the need for female workers and students to see to it that when they take a taxi, they will immediately text the plate number and description of the vehicle to their family or friends amid the presence of some taxi drivers who are taking advantage of their lone female passengers.
I have been privy to many solved cases of taxi drivers who gained notoriety for sexually abusing their female passengers even in broad daylight. A few years ago, I broke a story about the arrest of a taxi driver who was identified as a serial rapist in Metro Manila. The suspect’s victims include young call center agents who asked him to bring them home, only to be abused even along busy EDSA. His happy-days came to an end when he was arrested by CIDG-NCR agents then headed by my friend, Senior Supt. Danny Macerin.
There were also cases of liberal-minded young students who have made it a habit to go home after partying or drinking with their friends in the wee hours of the morning. Some of them have either been killed or raped by strangers just like the case of a pretty lass in Bulacan who was abducted, raped and killed by a jeepney driver and his pal after she rode their jeep. Add to that the countless cases of young students, stow-aways and out-of-school youths who were raped by their drinking mates.
I also agree with PNP spokesman, Senior Supt. Bong Durana that they need to enhance the way proactive police programs are being communicated with due consideration to gender sensitivity issues and early education of male and female teenagers on rape as a crime and further raising awareness on newer and more dangerous ‘date-rape drugs.’
“To be fair with the Angono Police Station, it’s a good initiative. They mean well. While we cannot control criminal motive, we can help prevent it through gender-blind self-education. Both men and women ought to know that no means no, that rape is a serious crime, and that they can go to jail if they violate another person’s human rights,” Durana said.