DILG sees no problem in arming barangay captains
The Department of Interior and Local Government (DILG) has agreed with President Rodrigo Duterte on the topic of issuing firearms for barangay captains, citing the need for protection from threats against them.
“Bilang ating unang hanay ng depensa sa grassroots, napakataas ng kanilang exposure sa iba’t ibang uri ng masasamang-loob at mga criminal,” DILG Secretary Eduardo Año said in a statement on Monday.
“Dahil dito, sila ay nangangailangan ng agarang proteksyon,” he added.
(As they are the first line of defense in the grassroots, they are highly exposed to different threats from bad elements and criminals. And because of that, they need immediate protection.)
President Duterte made the statement on June 8 (Thursday) as he was talking to newly-elected barangay officials of Region VII. Several lawmakers expressed their concerns over the suggestion, saying that it is more of a problem than a solution.
In the statement, Año said that barangay captains can buy firearms and they may be given a “permit to carry.” Aside from that, they may also be included in the Civilian Armed Force Geographical Unit (CAFGU) or in the Special Civilian Armed Auxiliary (SCAA).
“Bilang CAFGU o SCAA, maaari silang makatulong sa mga yunit na nagpapairal ng batas sa pagsugpo sa mga masasamang-loob na malaking banta sa buhay ng mga taong kanilang isinumpang pagsilbihan at protektahan sa barangay,” he said.
(As CAFGU or SCAA members, they can help the units that are in charge of law enforcement and crime prevention which pose a big threat to the lives of the people that they vowed to serve and protect in the barangay.)
DILG Assistant Secretary Jonathan Malaya also supported the proposal, saying that it is backed by legal bases.
“Ayon sa Section 387 ng Local Government Code, pinapayagan ang pag-iisyu ng baril sa mga opisyal ng barangay,” Malaya said.
“Nakalagay sa batas na sa pagtupad ng punong barangay sa tungkulin niyang panatilihin ang kaayusan at kapayapaan sa barangay, may karapatan siyang magmay-ari at magdala ng baril sa loob ng kanyang nasasakupang komunidad sa ilalim ng mga regulasyong napapaloob din sa batas,” he added.
(Section 387 of the Local Government Code allows the issuance of guns for barangay officials. The law states that in the exercise of the barangay captain’s job to maintain peace and order in the barangay, he or she has the right to own and bring a gun within the community, under regulations stated by the law.)
However, Malaya also recognized the need for the department’s assurance that mechanisms are in place to prevent the abuse of such measure.
“Tinitingnan naming ang posibilidad nito dahil pinag-aaralan na rin namin ang mga mekanismo upang masiguro ang tamang pagpapatupad nito,” he said.
(We will look into the proposal’s possibility because we are studying the mechanisms to ensure the correct implementation of this measure.) /je
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