CAGAYAN DE ORO CITY, Philippines – A Lanao del Norte lawmaker has urged appropriate committees in the Lower House to conduct an investigation, in aid of legislation, into the order of the National Police Commission (Napolcom) to remove the deputation power of some local chief executives over the police in their jurisdiction in Mindanao.
Napolcom’s Resolutions 334 and 335 essentially stripped 132 mayors and seven governors of that privilege. Included in the Napolcom order is the entire province of Lanao del Norte, along with other local government units in Mindanao, in light of the ongoing conflict between armed extremists and government forces in Marawi City.
According to Napolcom Vice Chairman and Executive Officer Rogelio Casurao, in a statement, the order issued by the Commission was due to the local officials’ “failure to impose measures to suppress terroristic acts and prevent lawless violence in their territories which is inimical to national security and poses serious threat to the lives and security of their constituents.”
But Lanao del Norte 1st District Representative Mohamad Khalid Dimaporo said his province has not been remiss in coordinating with law enforcement agencies to ensure peace and order in the area
“In Lanao del Norte, we peace and order seriously,” said Dimaporo in his privilege speech in the Lower House on July 25, who passed a resolution that would investigate the basis of Napolcom to withdraw the deputation of concerned local government leaders.
He said the provincial government of Lanao del Norte and its municipal mayor have always been active in supporting the various programs of the Department of the Interior and Local Government (DILG), the Philippine National Police (PNP), and the Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) in maintaining peace and order in the province.
Dimaporo said that since the Maute terrorist group was founded in 2012, “never did the AFP or the PNP personnel through their intelligence community mentioned that Maute terrorist group is existing and operating within the bounds of Lanao del Norte”.
This came about even if the Maute first encountered the AFP in 2013 and the AFP conducted a pursuit operation in Butig, Lanao del Sur following the Davao night market bombing which forced the group to scatter and regroup in Marawi, In fact, Dimaporo added, when President Rodrigo Duterte declared Martial Law in Mindanao on May 23 to quell theattack in Marawi City by a combined Maute and Abu Sayyaf group, Lanao del Norte Governor Imelda Quibranza-Dimaporo immediately convened the Provincial Peace and Order Council to express its support to his declaration and of the operations conducted by the state security forces in the province, he said.
Dimaporo said the accusation made by Napolcom that Lanao del Norte officials failed to suppress the terrorist group and were inactive in the government’s anti-drug campaign is “baseless.”
As proof of that, he said, a suspected terrorist was captured when he tried to seek medical help in one of the provincial hospitals due to a shrapnel in his wound.
The suspect, Dimaporo added, was “positive of gun powder and absolutely matched one of the faces in the list of wanted terrorist printed in the tarpaulin placed in the area” and that it was the governor who informed the PNP of the presence of the person although it refused to take custody of him because of lack of procedure.
On the issue of laxity of local government officials on the drug menace, the Congressman said: “Since the beginning of the Duterte administration, the mayors have been empowered to intensify their war on drugs and as result of Operation Double Barrel according to [League of Municipalities of the Philippines President, Lala town mayor Allan Lim], Lanao del Norte and Region 10 has been among the top performing units and have been acknowledge by PNP ranks.”
The governor said “it is unfortunate that our efforts in Lanao del Norte for more than 30 years to maintain peace and order was put to naught by the sweeping, unfounded and baseless withdrawal of our [deputation] over the PNP by the Napolcom.”
The local governments of Lanao del Norte, the elder Dimaporo said, “do not coddle those who have the propensity to spread fear and terror among their people, like what is being insinuated by the Napolcom resolution.”
“Certainly we are not protectors of illegal drug trade, (which) in their (Napolcom) assessment may have funded the Maute terrorist group activities in Marawi City,” she added.(davaotoday.com)