Cascolan assures: PNP to continuously assist ex-rebels who surrendered
MANILA, Philippines — Philippine National Police (PNP) Chief Gen. Camilo Pancratius Cascolan has assured former communist rebels who surrendered to the government that they would continuously help them reintegrate back into society easier.
Cascolan, who presided over a Baguio City program on Monday morning for several former New People’s Army (NPA) rebels who surrendered their firearms, said that they are looking at placing assistance desks in barangays so that rebels who want out can approach authorities.
“As I’ve said, we will be going to the barangays, we will be establishing assistance desks, as least two PNP (officers) per assistance desk per barangay. We’ll be looking at our PNP response team doon sa mga barangays,” he told reporters in Baguio.
“Doon sa mga barangays we need to go closer to them, we need to be very, very visible. In so doing, inyong mga lugar na kung saan may nag-surrender, at least magbibigay tiwala sa […] pag-surrender nila, tuloy-tuloy po iyan,” he added.
During the program initiated by the Police Regional Office in the Cordillera Administrative Region, dozens of guns, including rifles and other firearms were surrendered, with the former rebels taking an oath against the NPA.
The anti-insurgency program is considered a vital point in the PNP’s operations amid the COVID-19 pandemic. President Rodrigo Duterte vowed to counter the decades-long insurgency after peace talks fell out.
Cascolan, who hails from the Cordillera, is President Duterte’s fourth appointee as PNP Chief. Earlier, Cascolan named four police generals as directors of the Directorates for Integrated Police Operations (DIPO), which oversees regional and provincial offices’ operations.
Among the reasons for the changes within the DIPO is to provide a wider involvement among regional offices in internal security operations — which includes counter-insurgency efforts.
“We envision this development for our DIPOs as one of our frontline units in peace and order functions, particularly our crusade against communist insurgents and other threat groups in far-flung areas across the country,” Cascolan said in a statement.[ac]
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