On President Rodrigo Duterte’s third year in office, the Department of the Interior and Local Government (DILG) reported that crime volume dipped by 11 percent and around 12,000 barangays are now drug-free as a result of “participatory governance” or the active collaboration between the government and the local government units (LGUs), citizens, and other stakeholders.
“Malaking bahagi kayo sa naging tagumpay ng mas pinaigting na peace and order councils (POCs), anti-drug abuse councils (ADACs) at people’s law enforcement board (PLEB) sa labang tuluyan nang tapusin ang mga problema ng ating lipunan," said DILG Secretary Eduardo M. Año during the Pre-SONA (State of the Nation Address) forum of the Participatory Governance Cluster (PGC) held in Cebu City.
Año said that with the help and support of local based institutions like the POCs, ADACs, and PLEB, “law enforcement agencies successfully re-calibrated their anti-criminality operations” leading to a decrease in the crime volume from 488,644 for the period of July 2017 to June 2018 to 438,496 for the same period in 2018-2019.
“Through our partnership, we have proven that the government actually walks its talk and our efforts in participatory governance bear fruit and do not fall into the void of empty words and ineffective thrusts,” he said.
In the campaign against illegal drugs, the DILG Chief proudly said that 12,099 barangays have already been declared drug-free with the backing and support of a vigilant citizenry. Similarly, there are now 172 drug-free jail facilities as compared to only 74 in 2018 due to the Bureau of Jail Management and Penology’s intensified efforts to clear jails of illegal substances.
“Nakamit natin ang tagumpay na ito dahil sa pinaigting na operasyon ng ating mga alagad ng batas at sa suporta ng mga mamamayan na siyang pinagmumulan ng mga impormasyon tungkol sa iligal na droga,” he said.
But more than the recorded rise in the number of offenders arrested and the number of barangays cleared of illegal drugs, Año said that the government finds more meaningful success “in seeing former pushers and users entrust their future to us through our rehabilitation programs.”
“We wanted to give the 1.3-million drug surrenderers a second chance in life so we took an active stance in the Balay Silangan Program, and institutionalized the Community-Based Drug Rehabilitation Program in all LGUs,” he said.
Año, together with Department of Budget and Management (DBM) officer-in-charge Janet Abuel, presented the accomplishments of the PGC in Cebu during the Pre-SONA forum 2019 dubbed as “Tatak ng Pagbabago: Patuloy na Malasakit at Pagkakaisa”. The DILG and DBM are co-chairpersons of the PGC.
The PGC is one of the six clusters organized by the President through Executive Order 24 which aims to enhance citizen participation in government processes.
Public support vs Reds
During the event, Año also called on the support of the public to help the government end the 50-year-old communist insurgency in the country by declaring the New People’s Army as persona non grata and at the same time, convincing them to lay down their arms and rejoin society.
“Help us convince the communist rebels that armed conflict is not the solution to the country’s problems. Poverty, injustice, and corruption are the usual issues that they are exploiting and yet right from the start, this government under President Duterte has set these issues as top priorities to be addressed through good governance and focused efforts to improve the plight of the people,” he said.
Based on records from the interagency Task Force Balik-Loob, more than 8,300 rebel surrenderers yielded to the government as of December 2018. A total of 2,129 former rebels - 1,505 NPAs and 624 Militia ng Bayan - have also been provided with benefits and assistance from 2018 and 2019 through the Enhanced Comprehensive Local Integration Program (E-CLIP).
The DILG Chief said the government has also recently launched the Retooled Community Support Program which aims to address primary and secondary issues on the ground through a convergence of government initiatives and with the participation of the populace in development planning.
“Sa programang ito, ang gobyerno mismo ang bababa sa inyo para makinig at gumawa ng paraan upang maibsan ang mga problema ng inyong mga komunidad. Kaya naman huwag kayong mahiyang sabihin ang inyong mga suliranin dahil magiging matagumpay lamang ito kung magiging bukas kayo at makikipagtulungan sa amin,” said Año