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Partylist pushes law for 'tanods'

The Anti-Crime and Terrorism though Community Involvement and Support (ACT-CIS) Partylist recently announced it will push for the legislated standardization of roles and functions of village watchmen or "barangay tanods" to give them more proactive roles and standardized incentives. "This law will also increase the number of "tanods" proportionate to the population so that local government unit's response to criminality in the barangay level can be improved," ACT-CIS Partylist secretary general, Atty. Samuel D. Pagdilao Jr. said. "In line with the advocacy of the ACT-CIS to empower the community in doing their part in the fight against criminality and terrorism, the partylist will craft laws that will institutionalize the roles of community watchmen and upgrade their roles from being mere volunteer peacekeepers to a more organized, equipped and well compensated government community peace and order personnel," Pagdilao said. Pagdilao said the role of barangay tanods and their potential as reliable community-based peacekeeping groups has not yet been fully realized. While village watchmen's roles are basically confined to carrying out basic security functions like night patrols, traffic controls and other basic police functions as assisting the implementation of search and arrest warrants, they should be provided with additional benefits, trainings and incentives that would further encourage them to take part in the prosecution and conviction of arrested criminals as witnesses, Pagdilao said. In order to sustain the drive against criminality, Pagdilao said it is also timely that a law that would provide protection to barangay tanods as state witnesses be enacted. Pagdilao added that in order to encourage community members into actively participating in government's peace and order programs, people who volunteered to give their time and efforts in anti-criminality drive should be equally bequeathed with benefits and incentives, such as medical, education, insurance, financial and additional livelihood assistance for full time barangay tanods. "ACT-CIS believes that peace and order and security are shared responsibility of the community and government’s law enforcement units and that everyone should act as active partners to become more effective in confronting the rising tide of criminality," Pagdilao said. A retired police general, Pagdilao is an expert in law enforcement matters and community mobilization for peace and order.
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