Police outreach program seen as anti-insurgency drive

By Roel Amazona

February 3, 2018, 12:58 pm

LAS NAVAS, Northern Samar -- The Philippine National Police’s (PNP) outreach program, “Lingap ng Kapulisan” (Police Cares), is seen as key to end insurgency in this sleepy town.

Lt. Col. Nilo Lapizar, commanding officer of the Philippine Army’s 20th Infantry Battalion based in Catubig town, lauded the activity of policemen to win the hearts of communities infested by insurgency over the past decades.

“This is an assurance to people that the government is willing and ready to help them in providing solutions to their problems,” Lapizar said.
“But government agencies cannot do this alone, we need your support in the community to address this problem because you are the ones who experience its effects,” he added.

On Friday, about 5,000 beneficiaries of “Lingap ng Kapulisan” availed of its dental and optometric services, medical consultation, circumcision, Philippine Health Insurance membership, and psychosocial support.

The PNP also distributed school supplies and toys during the outreach activity. The initiative is in partnership with the military and the local government.

Mayor Minda Tan thanked the policemen for the activity considering that most of their residents are poor and health care is not a top priority of families.

“Many people here have no means to go to the health centers or hospitals to avail of professional health services,” Tan said.

Las Navas, a fourth-class town with a population of 37, 947, is more than an hour’s drive from Catarman, capital of Northern Samar, through a new road.

The town has 53 farming villages, more than half of which are upland. The farthest can be reached through a two-day hike.

PNP Regional Director Chief Supt. Gilberto Cruz said their visit aimed to make people feel secure and start trusting policemen, who were sometimes projected in the media as human rights violators.

“We are here to erase the perception that men in uniform are enemies of the people. We are here because we want to help you and make you feel that the government is always ready to help you,” he added.

Cruz promised it would not be the last time that people of Las Navas would benefit from this kind of program of the PNP as they intend to revisit the town to bring more services from the government.

Las Navas was the third town in Eastern Visayas that the PNP visited for the Lingap ng Kapulisan.
Late last year, the PNP visited the remote towns of Maslog in Eastern Samar and Silvino Lobos in Northern Samar. (PNA)

Photo by Roel Amazona