Malaybalay mayor optimistic DILG will approve police auxiliary unit

MALAYBALAY CITY – Mayor Ignacio W. Zubiri in a press conference on March 26 expressed optimism that the city government will get approval in its plan to organize its own police auxiliary unit.

“I could say a 70 percent possibility of our plan will come to reality. Just recently I met Department of Interior and Local Government Secretary Jess Robredo and discussed about the issue. The result was encouraging. It seems he favors the project in Bukidnon particularly in Malaybalay,” Zubiri said.

Zubiri said Robredo acknowledged his letter request about the plan.

The police auxiliary nationwide, he said, is reviewed by the Philippine National Police over allegations some police auxiliary were involved in the Ampatuan massacre in Maguindanao province where 58 persons were killed, 32 of them were members of the media. The others were members and political allies of now Maguindanao Gov. Toto Mangugudatu.

Despite this, Zubiri said the plan of Malaybalay might be considered because of the insurgency problem.

The NPA rebels were also tagged responsible in attacking a police convoy on March 6 in Mapayag Village this city. Two members of the Scene of Crime Operatives (SOCO) including its civilian volunteer were killed on the spot. That fourth fatality in the ambush, a member of the city police force was killed while undergoing treatment in a hospital. Four other policemen were injured.

Several atrocities were also staged by the suspected members of the New People’s Army (NPA) in Malaybalay. The NPA attacked two big banana firms operating in Malaybalay and in Bukidnon in general, the Sumifru and Dole Skyland. The NPA claimed responsibility of the twin incidents. They also claimed responsible in killing a village councilwoman of Dalwangan. The NPA were also tagged in killing former Barangay Mapayag Village chief.

In the previous years the NPA were also tagged in killing Enrique and Cresencio Penaso. The Penaso brothers were both former police officers and were killed separately.

Zubiri said the police auxiliary will be locally funded and has already gained support from the city council. If realized, he added, it would help the government in combating insurgency problems in Malaybalay City.

He said once approved, the city will initially organize a 40-member police auxiliary unit.

In 2009, the city government has already organized Special Civilian Armed Forces Geographical Unit (CAFGU) Active Auxiliary (SCAA). They were assigned in a CAFGU detachment under 23rd Infantry Battalion in Upper Pulangi area of the city and in the villages of Can-ayan, Patpat and Dalwangan.

Police regional director Conrado Laza, Zubiri said, cited Bukidnon’s insurgency problem in a conversation with Robredo. He said Bukidnon might get a big portion of the 400 plus quota for Region 10 of the police recruits this year.

The mayor said the city’s 87 policemen are not enough to serve more than 100,000 residents.

The creation of a police auxiliary unit was pushed following the murder of Bukidnon State University instructor Jay Jaspher Santoninio in Brgy. 1 in November 2010  and the robbery involving personnel of the city’s branch of the Development Bank of the Philippines, which killed security guard Pedro Cabalida right in down town Malaybalay City on January 31.

Several critics hit the city’s lack of police visibility, which they said has emboldened perpetrators.  (Mel B. Madera)

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