EDITORIAL| Necessary change

THE ORDER of the Regional Police Office for police stations to beef up their security mechanisms to prevent the attacks of the New People’s Army must be taken seriously

because heads will roll for those who will be complacent.

Under the “one-strike policy” of Regional Police Chief Manuel R. Gaerlan, commanders of police stations who will not be able to prevent the attacks will be relieved and those provincial and city police directors whose two police stations will also be attacked will also be relieved by virtue of the command responsibility doctrine.

The order comes at a time when several police stations and their respective areas have been pounced on by the rebels. In the city just recently, the rebels were able to stage operations on several business establishments as if the security forces were sleeping.

Of course, this is not to belittle the capability of our people in uniform as they might have been doing everything they can to stop the attacks. However, one wonders whether the intelligence machinery of the rebels is far superior than that of our law enforcers because of the ease of the rebels in staging these atrocities.

The danger, however, is when law enforcers, because of their zealousness, step on the toes of the very people they vow to protect. This is mainly because both soldiers and members of the police always have that suspicion that rebels get support from communities particularly those in the hinterland. What they fail to consider is that the villagers do not consider them friendly forces because of their experience.

The correct principle is that for the law enforcers to be effective in their intelligence gathering systems, they must be able to cultivate a healthy relationship with the public by becoming their true protectors. To do this, however, will entail a paradigm shift on their part through a mindset that the public is their superior even when they are the ones who bear guns. Countless articles have been written on this issue, but the impact seems so little and the response from people in uniform so late, sometimes.

Unless the shift of mindset and that the police ranks are riddled of scalawags, the vulnerability of police stations to attack will always be there.

Posted in Opinion