AFP, PNP, PCG ink deal to boost operations vs terrorism, insurgency

Robie de Guzman   •   July 23, 2021   •   406

MANILA, Philippines – The Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP), the Philippine National Police (PNP), and the Philippine Coast Guard (PCG) on Friday signed a tripartite accord that seeks to further enhance interoperability during internal and external security operations.

In a statement, the PNP said the tripartite mechanism was officially adopted by the three agencies through Resolution Nr. 11-2021 which included the PCG in the Joint Peace and Security Coordinating Center (JPSCC).

The move is in line with the government’s ‘whole-of-nation’ approach towards peace and security; engaging the PNP, AFP, and PCG to work together in keeping the country safe and secure.

AFP Chief of Staff General Cirilito Sobejana, PNP chief General Guillermo Eleazar, and PCG commandant Admiral George Ursabia Jr. will serve as co-chairs of the National JPSCC.

As a new JPSCC member agency, the PCG will play a vital role in forming various concepts of operations that will address the country’s complex and evolving maritime threats.

“We look forward to future collaborative efforts among agency members in terms of maritime safety and security, maritime law enforcement, and the protection of the country’s marine environment,” Sobejana said in the same statement.

“The present challenges offer a great opportunity for us to enhance our coordination and interoperability. This has been a journey built from the ground by men in uniform service who selflessly serve for years and further stimulated and sustained at the policy side. For the PCG Team, we are so fortunate today that we are here to solidify the PCG as the third arm service in our lifetime,” Ursabia said.

Aside from the joint accord, the three agency heads also signed the JPSCC Letter Directive Nr. 03-2021, which called for the reorganization of the JPSCC.

In the revised structure, the National JPSCC will now be headed by the PNP Chief, AFP Chief, and PCG Commandant while PNP Directors for Integrated Police Operation, AFP Unified Commanders, and PCG Area Commanders will exercise supervision over the Regional and Provincial JPSCCs.

The accord also stipulates that cooperation and coordination among the AFP, PNP, and PCG complemented by collaboration and consultation with all stakeholders shall be the guiding principle in addressing peace and security concerns.

“Despite differences in our respective uniforms and in the scopes of our respective work and mandates, we are all bound together by our common oath to serve and protect the Filipino people and our country as well as safeguard the national interest,” Eleazar said.

“But most importantly, we all have the same faith and hope for humanity. That is, perhaps the most fundamental reason why we need to foster and strengthen our cooperation and collaboration – to promote the common good” he added.

The joint accord was signed in Camp General Emilio Aguinaldo in Quezon City.

PCG boosts recruitment to strengthen PH maritime security

Marje Pelayo   •   September 17, 2021

MANILA, Philippines — The Philippine Coast Guard (PCG) is continuously recruiting to achieve the ideal number of 72,000 personnel in order to fully execute its mandate of protecting the country’s 36,000 kilometer long coastline.

The PCG said there have been sightings of Chinese fishing vessels in the West Philippine Sea.

PCG Commandant VADM Leopoldo Laroya said tensions between PCG personnel and Chinese mariners do occur at times.

“Mayroon pakonti-konti na nilalapitan ng [Philippine] Coast Guard. We also maintain a constant patrol in the area and when challenged, they sometimes challenge our challenge but in the end they leave,” he said.

The PCG was able to increase its force from 7,000 personnel in 2016 to 20,600 coast guards this year.

In 2021 alone, the PCG was able to hire around 4,000 new recruits.

In the next five years, the agency is confident of having around 36,000 personnel.

Aside from border security, the PCG is also focused on assisting all returning overseas Filipinos.

“Marami kaming tao na nagkaka-COVID pero meron din namang kapalit. And all our people are being taken care of,” Laroya assured.

As for seafarers, the Maritime Industry Authority (MIA) through the Commission on Higher Eduction (CHED) is requesting the Inter-Agency Task Force (IATF) to allow face-to-face classes for maritime students.

The agency said the pandemic has prevented the industry from producing new seafarer-graduates for two years in a row.

“Hanggang ngayon hindi allowed yung ODT aboardship. So habang wala pang guidance to allow it, then we will continue not to graduate our Filipino seafarers,” explained MIA Administrator VADM Robert Empedrad.

The official said it is still to the advantage of the Philippines to have sufficient number of seafarers for its local maritime operations. MNP (with Rey Pelayo)

Eleazar orders deeper probe into killing of lawyer in South Cotabato

Robie de Guzman   •   September 16, 2021

MANILA, Philippines – Philippine National Police (PNP) chief Guillermo Eleazar on Thursday ordered a deeper investigation into the killing of a lawyer in South Cotabato.

In a statement, Eleazar wants police investigators to determine the motive and identify in the soonest possible time the perpetrators of the crime.

A report from the South Cotabato Provincial Police Office stated that Atty. Juan Gammad Macababbad, 68, was shot dead by three unidentified gunmen in front of his house in Surallah on Wednesday afternoon.

He suffered multiple gunshot wounds and was declared dead on arrival at the hospital.

“The Philippine National Police joins the legal community and the Filipino people in condemning the killing of a lawyer in South Cotabato,” Eleazar said.

“Kasabay ng pagkondena dito ay ang aking kautusan sa RD, PRO12 na tutukan ang kasong ito upang mapanagot ang mga taong nasa likod nito at maibigay ang nararapat na hustisya kay Atty. Macababbad at sa kanyang pamilya,” he added.

Eleazar said he also ordered the Directorate for Investigation and Detective Management to check on the status of other cases of lawyer killings in the last five years and to expedite the investigation of those that are still unresolved.

 

Public urged to cooperate as NCR shifts to quarantine alert levels system

Robie de Guzman   •   September 16, 2021

MANILA, Philippines – The Philippine National Police (PNP) has called for public cooperation as the pilot implementation of granular lockdowns and quarantine alert levels system in the National Capital Region (NCR) begins Thursday.

In a statement, PNP chief Police General Guillermo Eleazar said the public can help ensure the success of the test by strictly adhering to protocols and being mindful of their own protection from the dreaded COVID-19.

“Sa pag-umpisa ng Alert Level 4 at granular lockdown sa Metro Manila ngayong araw, muling nakikiusap ang inyong PNP sa ating mga kababayan na makiisa at isapuso ang mga alintuntuning ipinapatupad para sa kaligtasan ng lahat,” he said.

Authorities on Thursday began the pilot implementation of the new alert levels system in Metro Manila that seek to curb COVID-19 cases and allow some industries to resume operations.

Metro Manila has been placed under alert level 4 due to high case counts and healthcare utilization rate.

Under the second highest alert level, certain restrictions will be imposed on establishments and activities that are classified as 3 Cs – closed spaces, crowded areas, and activities that promote close contact.

The policy allows certain indoor activities under specific seating capacity for fully vaccinated individuals. Granular lockdowns will also be implemented in particular barangays, buildings and other areas with high infection rate.

In the duration of the said system, curfew hours will be shortened to 10 p.m. to 4 a.m.

Eleazar said police personnel will also continue to implement quarantine and public health protocols.

“Naniniwala ang inyong PNP na ang patuloy na pagsuway ng ilan nating kababayan ay isa sa mga dahilan ng pagtaas ng kaso. Kaya hinihikayat natin ang ating mga kababayan na isa-puso ang mga alintuntuning ito kasama ang pagrespeto sa mas maraming bilang ng mga Pilipino na sumusunod sa mga patarakan at ang pagbibigay ng malasakit sa ating mga healthcare workers na bugbog na sa patuloy na pagdami ng mga kaso ng COVID,” he said.

Data from the PNP showed that a total of 224,626 violators were accosted in Metro Manila alone for violation of the minimum public health safety from August 21 to September 15 when the National Capital Region is under the Modified Enhanced Community Quarantine.

A total of 87,729 were accosted for curfew violation and another 15,296 for violation of the ban on unnecessary travel for non-Authorized Persons Outside Residence.

In the nearby provinces of Bulacan, Cavite, Laguna and Rizal, a total of 1,153,833 violators were accosted for violating of public health protocols, curfew and prohibition on unnecessary travels from August 21 to September 15, the PNP said.

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