Senior Supt. Milko Lirazan, officer-in-charge of the Negros Occidental Police Provincial Office, yesterday expressed opposition to suggestions to arm barangay tanods, by some lawmakers.
Lirazan said police force multipliers, including barangay tanods, should only assist the PNP in gathering information, and not to act as law enforcers
Two barangay tanods, who are members the Barangay Peacekeeping Action Team, are facing charges for homicide and murder, in connection with the killing of a barangay kagawad in Binalbagan, as well as a BPAT member and a minor in Bago City, last week.
While BPAT members may apply for gun licenses and permits to carry firearms outside their residences, Lirazan said they are not allowed to use them, while assisting the police in the maintenance of peace and order.
Bago BPAT executive officer Antonio Tinero is facing double homicide charges for the shooting of his colleague, Crisante Camposano, and Napoleon Rio III, police records show. He is still at large.
Barangay tanod chief Vicente Reginio also fled, after he allegedly shot dead his own cousin, Joseph Arvie Reginio, in Brgy.Bi-ao, Binalbagan, last week, police records also show.
Executive Secretary Paquito Ochoa, acting Interior and Local Government officer-in-charge, who defended Tuesday the P90.55 billion budget of DILG before the House Appropriations committee, balked at suggestions from members of Congress to arm barangay tanod.
Ochoa said barangay tanods are not sufficiently trained to handle guns. In the meantime, he added, they will remain in their role of assisting the police, he added.
He said the PNP will hire 3,000 new police officers next year, build 24 more police stations and procure more firearms, with a budget of P67 billion, to enhance police visibility and improve its crime prevention and fighting capability.* GPB