DAVAO CITY, Philippines – Despite mounting criticism to his administration’s crackdown against loiterers or “tambay” in the country, President Rodrigo Duterte has remained steadfast and this time he wanted barangay officials to be directly involved.
Duterte emphasized the need for village chiefs to be directly involved in the campaign when he led the mass oath-taking of newly-elected barangay officials in Region X on Monday in Cagayan de Oro City.
He said street loiterers pose dangers to the welfare of barangay constituents and that village executives must act in fulfillment to their duties and responsibilities.
“We call them istambay. That’s the word. That is my order. And you continue to frisk people who are there, doon sa dalan (there in the streets) and that is legal. Until such time, that is my order,” Duterte said.
He pointed out that the President can order the mayor and the barangay to issue regulations to protect public health, safety, order, and the general welfare of the people.
Duterte also urged the barangay officials not to believe in the criticism being raised against the continuing crackdown of loiterers.
“Do not read it. It’s none of your business to be reading what they are talking about. It’s our business to follow what we are ordered to do,” he emphasized.
Duterte said barangay captains are more than just the members of the Philippine National Police because they act as the mayors, governors and even presidents in the respective localities.
He warned village executive may face charges of neglect and possible dismissal is they fail to curb criminalities in their barangays.
“Now, if you cannot do it, and the records will show na ‘yung mga crime rate mo mataas pati droga, then I will charge you with neglect,” the President said.
Duterte also expressed openness to provide firearms to barangay officials.
“Ngayon, gusto ninyo ng armas, pag-usapan natin (Now, you want guns? Let’s talk about that) ,” Duterte said, as he reminded to village officials to fight crimes as persons in authority.
The crackdown on loiterers, especially in Metro Manila has been criticized by various sectors, branding such policy as anti-poor and in violation of human rights.
The PNP in Metro Manila has already rounded up more than 10,000 individuals since Duterte made such pronouncement.
In a statement last week, Gabriela party-list said the arrest of vagrants, tambays or idle individuals opens a floodgate of abuses especially in the midst of unresolved cases of police brutality and extrajudicial killings in poor communities.
The group also expressed alarm on the directive of the president in providing the PNP with a wide latitude in carrying out illegal arrests, illegal search, and seizures and in violating people’s right to mobility.(davaotoday.com)
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