DILG chief Año opposes arming of civilians to fight crime
ZAMBOANGA CITY, Zamboanga del Sur — Interior and Local Government Secretary Eduardo Año expressed opposition to the idea of organizing and arming civilians to fight crime themselves.
“I do not agree with it. It’s like promoting vigilantes,” Año said in a chance interview at the Western Mindanao Command headquarters here on Wednesday.
Año said that he clarified the matter with President Rodrigo Duterte during their meeting on Monday.
“He (Duterte) was referring to the areas under the influence of CPP-NPA (Communist Party of the Philippines—New People’s Army). After those barangays have been cleared, there are civilians and they need to defend their villages,” Año explained.
In that instance, he said, he favors the arming of civilians “but subject to (limitations under the) laws.”
Isolated communities such as those within the ancestral domain areas of indigenous peoples are vulnerable to exploitation by the NPA, Año explained, “but arming them have to be closely supervised by the Armed Forces of the Philippines or the Philippine National Police.”
He said that these select civilians in these communities can be recruited as government militias.
He added that those who are licensed gun holders can exercise citizen arrest anytime “provided they witness the commission of crimes…”
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