Monday, August 19, 2013

Bohol gets anti-organized 
crime czar as new director
Rey Anthony Chiu

BOHOL, August 19, 2013 (PIA) –Bohol witnessed the change of commands for the local police as out-going provincial director PSSupt Constantino Barot handed the flag and ceremonial police logs to PSSupt. Dennis Agustin Wednesday, August 14. 

While Bohol loses an officer which local officials rate as superb anti-crime performance, the incoming officer could bring in a new crime busting strategy, courtesy of a decorated stint as anti-organized crime buster. 

Barot completed his Bohol tour of duty a month short of his third year of service to the Boholanos, a rare feat for police officers who are mandated to do at least two years of service before another organizational assignment.

Barot took the top Bohol police spot last September 8, 2010, from PSSupt. Rodolfo llorca, and would have completed his third year next month. 

The unusual extended service Barot rendered for Bohol was accordingly because local officials and the Provincial Peace and Order Council resolved to request the PNP to have more of Barot’s leadership especially with Christmas in 2012 and an upcoming elections in 2013. 

Newly installed Police Regional Director Danilo Constantino, Cebu Regional Police Officers and chief of police of Bohol town stations personally attended and witnessed the turn-over of command, at the Camp Dagohoy Parade grounds on a rainy Wednesday. 

Governor Edgar Chatto, who spoke highly of the bowing out official cited Barot for effectively steering the police organization in Bohol to be good partners with the civilian authority.

Speaking while heaping praises to Barot, Chatto said he is recommending Barot’s good use to PNP authorities. 

To PSSupt Agustin, Chatto promised full support from the local Administration, even as he asked the incoming officer to let Bohol’s march to progress continue. 

PSsupt Agustin was among the officers which had the Presidential promotion to senior officers in March of this year. 

Agustin used to head the Anti-Fraud and Commercial Crimes Division of PNP-CIDG in 2010, with sterling performance.

Then he was assigned to various posts before coming back to Manila as among those who were promoted and assigned at the PNPO Headquarters support services. 

As the new leadership begins its work, he won’t start from square one, the governor said. He will have our help, and we look forward to working with the new officer, Chatto said.

Bohol stint, no vacation
For new police director
Rey Anthony Chiu

BOHOL, August 19, 2013 (PIA) –In his assignment to Bohol, new police provincial director may have his wish granted, but in the process, he also picks up a tall order, from no less than the new police regional director. 

Coming in to replace PSSupt Constantino Barot who, according to Governor Edgar Chatto, is among the best officers who served Bohol, incoming PSSupt Dennis Agustin told media his Bohol assignment is sure challenge. 

Once here in Bohol for a non-official visit, PSSupt Agustin immediately knew an assignment in Bohol was what he wished.

But coming here is no easy task for the experienced officer, intelligence operative and seasoned investigator who had stints as commander of some units in Mindanao, in running police intelligence operations and in pursuing organized crime groups. 

At the turn over ceremonies Wednesday at the Camp Dagohoy Parade Grounds, police regional director PCSupt. Danilo Constantino ordered Supt Agustin to implement at least five directives.

This was on top of forging a way to empower communities on disaster preparedness. 

“First, I want you to supervise our men in the implementation of the Police Integrated Patrol System (PIPS),” Csupt Constantino told SSupt Agustin and the chiefs of police of the stations, and key police officers all over Bohol who came for the formal event. 

PIPS has been the Philippine National Police’s (PNP) answer to a scientific approach to crime reduction, by tracking crime clocks, crime days, crime venues and looking at crime statistics to rationalize police presence during patrols.

Suffering from a severe police to civilian population ratio, the PNP still maximized its presence with the PIPS and a more critical use of check and choke points against criminals on the loose. 
Himself knowing that the new provincial police director has extensive intelligence background, Constantino also ordered Agustin to use his experience at the Presidential Anti-Organized Task Force to “intensify intelligence efforts.”

Moreover, the regional director also instructed the Makati-cop to deploy men where most people converge as a way to pre-empt the commission of crimes. This, he says, form part of the “target-hardening measures” that police need to do to be effective in their operations. 

The new regional director, who apparently wants his new top cop to breeze through Bohol’s assignment with flying colors also want him to arrest more and more criminals, and let the courts do their part. 

In the war against drugs and illegal gambling, drug and gambling lords can easily bail out their men, but feel the brunt of bailing more and more suspects, making their operations not viable. 

Finally, CSupt Agustin also asked new Bohol Provincial Director to report true crime picture, hinting that there have been reports of under reporting in the police crime logs. 

With all these for Agustin’s toeing, a possible sterling performance after a Bohol tour of duty may not be impossible, Camp Dagohoy sources admit.

Police intelligence ranks 
City drug menace at 7/10
Rey Anthony Chiu

BOHOL, August 19 (PIA) –A key intelligence operative in Tagbilaran City reveals: drug ménage in the city has gone up high at 7, in a scale of 10.

City police deputy Inspector Adriano Bacus however told listeners at Kapihan sa PIA that the city police, with the able support of the new Administration of Mayor John Geesnell Yap is slowly denting on the problem, by scoring successes one at a time. 

PInsp. Bacus also admitted that the city’s intelligence unit is just too thinly spread, that focusing on drugs in their crime busting is nearly impossible. 

In fact, the city police to population ratio is at a miserable 1:1200, a deplorable situation considering the city’s 130,000 population compounded by incoming tourists and a host of spillover criminals from its neighboring islands. 

He said, aside from drugs, the intelligence investigating unit has also to respond to profiling robbery, murder, homicide, illegal gambling and other petty criminals that detailing an intelligence operative to focus on a case becomes a personal burden. 

Imagine seeking a Philippine Drug Enforcement Agency control number for a surveillance operation, and then in the middle of it, a distress call comes out for a robbery case, what do you do? We pull out and break off the surveillance, he said. 

If only the PDEA is able to operate on their own, and be effective, we could be spared from a possible spread of the problem, Bacus openly mused.

In Bohol, the PDEA is mercifully undermanned, with only 3 agents assigned to do all the tasks the office is set to perform in reducing and eliminating the drug problem. 

As mandated to support the campaign, we at the local police force help, but people must realize we are there to support the drive, Bacus hinted. 

In its anti-drug operations, police also operate using a network of informants from several sectors. 

We treat every information as confidential, and we have to run them for surveillance and confirmatory buy, he shared. 

This is for us to be able to gather evidence which would be a police officer’s protection from counter suits. 

Several people, especially those who want to see immediate results, complain about police shuffling on its feet when called to act on a drug tip. 

But, Bacus said most drug arrests, especially those smalltime pushers are easily bailed out, these could be potential case of getting back at the apprehending officer, so we need to be very thorough, he relayed. 

Of course, we do receive tips from concerned citizens, admits the officer.

Some of these tips have been in our surveillance files, although some are information passed to fool police into a false lead, he admits. 

It takes time, Bacus noted, saying that confirming tips to arrests and a certainty of court conviction stand on solid evidence.

But with the full support from our local officials, we have proven that we can have success, he said.

Massive neutering, spaying 
Operation set in Panglao
Rey Anthony Chiu

BOHOL, August 19 (PIA) –Saving Panglao island and its tourists from the risks of rabies gets complicated as authorities plan to implement an island wide rabies mass neutering and spaying of dogs.

Dr. Stella Marie Lapiz said this is to control a burgeoning dog population and isolate identified feral dogs with the authorities have noted living in some uninhabited areas of the island. 

Set to be implemented with a private and public partnership with non-government organization called Humane Society International, the move is also in relation to an alarming increase in dog bites recorded in Panglao Island alone. 

On the activity, authorities would conduct house to house dog neutering and spaying, (except for dogs nurtured for breeding purposes) which will render dogs incapable of reproduction. 

Authorities also hope this could reduce the exponential increase in dog population, while separate operations are set for dog registration, vaccination, stray dog population management as well as the spread of responsible pet ownership (RPO) information. 

In Bohol, a provincial ordinance on rabies has been strengthened with an executive order from the governor implementing the Paralegal System to enforce responsible dog ownership and empower communities to implement the penalties set for failure to abide by the mandates of PRO.

Since January to mid-July, there have been 12 recorded cases of dog biting here, three of which have been positively confirmed to be from rabid dogs, according to sources at the Office of the Provincial Veterinarian (OPV). 

Of the 12 cases too, some could not be confirmed as some of the biting animals could not be subjected for rabies confirmatory laboratory tests. 

Several biting animals often end up killed, depriving authorities of the proper confirmatory tests, Provincial Veterinarian and Bohol Rabies Prevention and Elimination Program action officer Dr. Lapiz said. 

In cases like this when the animal is not available for confirmatory tests, we immediately tag the case as rabies suspect to be safe, she added. 

Seeing this as a major setback in the anti-rabies campaign especially when the problem is right smack into the top tourism destination here, local advocates hope the island-wide dog population control in Panglao will contain the threat of rabies that dogs in the island could be carrying all along. 

Of the 12 cases too, seven of them happened in Dauis town, on the northern part of the island. Five of the remaining cases happened in Panglao, specifically in the areas where there is a huge tourist population. 

In Dauis, one bite case, specifically one of the three bite cases in Mayacabac proved to be from a positive rabid dog. The bite cases involve one in Poblacion, 3 in Mayacabac, one in Songculan, one in Totolan and another in San Isidro.

In Panglao, documented bit cases include two in Sitio Das-ag, Poblacion, which proved to be positively from a rabi dog, another suspected case in Poblacion and two suspected cases in Doljo. 

With cases clearly more than enough to suspect a threat, the OPV then sent its workers to conduct focused group discussions in Panglao, upon seeing the bite incidence tracking, Dr Lapiz reported. 

Generally the activity aims to determine the presence and ecology of feral dogs in Panglao Island, determine their presence and exact location, get an estimated population of feral dogs and know the attitude of people towards these dogs as well as learn the feeding habits and sources of food of these dogs.

PDAF funding policy 
“Hurting” legit NGOs

BOHOL, August 19, 2013 (PIA)—The Priority Development Assistance Funds (PDAF) scam is damaging legitimate Non-Government Organizations (NGOs) and key NGO workers ask government to review and revise its rules for accessing government funding support to avert similar embarrassments in the future. 

“Why is it that legitimate NGOs find it very difficult to avail of government funding support for their worthy project, but dubious individuals are able to use bogus NGOs to run rings around government financial rules?”, Donato C. Macasaet of the Caucus of Development NGO Networks (CODE-NGO) asked. 

The Commission on Audit (COA) Circular 2007-001 provides the guidelines for the release of government funds to NGOs and people’s organizations (POs).

NGOs submit several documents, including their Certificate of Registration with the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC), Cooperative and Development Authority (CDA) or the Department of Labor and Employment (DOLE), an authenticated copy of their latest Articles of Incorporation or Articles of Cooperation and audited financial reports for the past three years, Macasaet cited. 

However, the same circular also provides that for NGOs and POs in existence for less than 3 years, only need an accomplishment and financial report for the period it has been in operation. 

Government apparently also does not provide for an independent validation of the documents submitted by the said NGOs and POs, he said.

CODE-NGO is a national network of development NGOs with 12 member networks and 1,600 base organizations nationwide. 

“Current news reports about a P10 Billion decade-old scam involving the Priority Development Assistance Fund (PDAF) of congresspersons and senators unfairly drag down the image and credibility of genuine NGOs who do hard work in many communities often with limited funds”, said Macasaet, Executive Director of CODE-NGO. 

Based on news reports, the scam, allegedly masterminded by a president of a trading firm, involved the creation of at least 20 fake NGOs purposely to siphon off PDAF funds into the pockets of unscrupulous individuals. 

The fake NGOs allegedly used in this latest pork barrel scam reportedly designated the trading firms’ drivers and other employees and their relatives as the NGOs’ presidents. 

“We believe that incidents like this can be avoided and the PDAF can be utilized more effectively and responsibly if NGO-recipients are limited to those certified by the Philippine Council for NGO Certification (PCNC) or similar certification bodies”, added Macasaet. 

Macasaet asked the Department of Budget and Management and the COA to immediately review and revise its rules even while the investigation into the reported scam is ongoing. 

“We cannot afford more scandals like this. It hurts both the government and all legitimate NGOs and POs”, he said.

Macasaet also asked Congress to be more transparent about their PDAF. 

‘We appreciate DBM’s initiative to post online its PDAF fund releases, but as we have said in our PDAF Watch reports, congresspersons and senators should themselves disclose more information about their PDAF, including their criteria and process for selecting projects and beneficiaries”, he said.

The PCNC is an independent and NGO-initiated and managed certification institution duly recognized by the Department of Finance that certifies NGOs for good governance, financial management, and track record for creating impact to their beneficiaries.

CODE-NGO has been spearheading the PDAF Watch initiative since 2006. 

As active advocates of effective, democratic and participatory governance, CODE-NGO upholds and promotes standards of conduct in development work in the same way that it demands good governance from the government. 

The CODE-NGO network encourages its members and other NGOs to participate in the certification process of the PCNC and to ensure the adherence of member NGOs to the Code of Conduct for Development NGOs. 

It is also promoting a Checklist of (Minimum) Good Governance Standards for NGOs and POs.

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