FORCE MULTIPLIERS. Col. Aaron Mandia (left), Cagayan de Oro City police chief, briefs members of local civic groups before activating them as force multipliers. There are about 25 groups in the city that have been tapped to help police stations in monitoring peace and order. (PNA photo by Nef Luczon)

CAGAYAN DE ORO CITY—The Cagayan de Oro City Police Office (COCPO) tapped on Monday at least 25 civic organizations volunteering as force multipliers.

Col. Aaron Mandia, COCPO director, said the organizations were briefed to help with different police stations in the city to monitor peace and order.

“They will be directly reporting to us in the (COCPO) headquarters, and they were already informed of their roles,” he said in an interview.

Engaging civic groups is one of COCPO's responses to the series of criminal activities recently.

Maj. Evans Viñas, COCPO spokesperson, assured the public civic organizations will have limited functions to prevent any abuse or exploit their association with law enforcement.

Volunteer groups, he pointed out, are still obliged to report to the police any incidents in their areas for arrests and anti-crime operations.

Mary Jane Humo, a member of the Ordinary Citizens Initiative Group (Orig), said their 30-member organization has volunteered to help the police in Barangay Nazareth.

“We reside in Upper Nazareth, and we can know who are visitors in our community. At least we get to know who are doing activities like gambling,” Humo said.

She said Orig was founded since 1989 doing voluntary work helping the barangay and police force.

Social media hype

Meanwhile, Lt. Col. Surki Sereñas, COCPO deputy director for operations, said the “fear” prevailing on social media about the city's crime security situation is unfounded.

Citing police data for the last 28 weeks, Sereñas said crimes in the city are at an average of 10 daily.

COCPO data showed that from January 1 to July 9, 2022, a total of 268 crimes have been reported, mostly theft, physical injuries, and robbery.

“The police may not completely prevent crime from happening 100 percent (with the current police-population ratio of 1:800 plus), but the police are doubling our effort in crime prevention through preemptive deployment and intel ops,” Sereñas said.

He said from January to July, about 98 percent of the total index crime in the city is either cleared or solve after suspects have been identified or filed before the court. (PNA)