Best cops eyed for Mindanao deployment

By Christopher Lloyd Caliwan

February 1, 2020, 2:54 pm

<p>Philippine Deputy Chief for Operations, Lt. Gen. Guillermo Eleazar. <em>(PNA File photo)</em></p>

Philippine Deputy Chief for Operations, Lt. Gen. Guillermo Eleazar. (PNA File photo)

MANILA -- The practice of assigning scalawag cops to Mindanao may soon become a thing of the past as the Philippine National Police (PNP) looks into deploying tough but smart police officers on the island, a ranking police official said last week.

Lt. Gen. Guillermo Eleazar, PNP deputy chief for operations, said the deployment of tough but bright policemen especially in central and western parts of Mindanao is also crucial in the continuity of the implementation of the peace agreement that President Rodrigo Duterte helped pushed and realized with the Moro Islamic Liberation Front.

“In the past three years, the security landscape here has significantly improved despite some challenges. And it will continue to drastically change now that President Duterte has set the good mood for peaceful and economically-developed Mindanao with the peace agreement with the MILF and the establishment of the Bangsamoro Autonomous Region,” Eleazar said in a copy of his speech during his visit at the headquarters of the Zamboanga Peninsula Regional Police Office on Jan. 28.

He said the practice of sending erring cops to Mindanao is now being addressed by the PNP leadership through its aggressive internal cleansing.

“With the aggressive internal cleansing initiated by our Chief PNP,  Gen. Archie Francisco Gamboa, for instance, the PNP leadership is making sure that if you commit offenses, you have nowhere else to go, but be meted with appropriate punishments as quickly as possible. So the challenge now is to fill Mindanao with both the toughest and the brightest policemen in order to sustain what the President has started to achieve a long-overdue Filipino dream of peaceful and progressive Mindanao,” he added.

One of the major reasons for assigning police scalawags to Mindanao, he said, is for them to prove their toughness there.

He added that over the years, the central and western parts of Mindanao, including Sulu and Basilan provinces, are considered as the scariest assignment for policemen, soldiers and other law enforcement operatives due to the presence of armed men.

Eleazar, however, clarified that Mindanao became an integral part of the good peace and order strategies of the police and military.

"It is here in Mindanao where some of our policemen were able to show the real meaning of courage, it is here in Mindanao where excellence in law enforcement was tried and tested, and it is here in Mindanao where police heroes were made.

He then cited the case of the 44 slain Special Action Force commandos who died in an operation against Malaysian Zulkifli Bin Hir, alias Marwan, an international terrorist who helped train Filipino extremists in urban warfare and bomb-making. (PNA)