A lawmaker from the first district of Lanao del Sur has filed a bill with the Regional Assembly of Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao to mandate a Public Order and Safety Office or POSO in every city and municipality in the region.
Assemblyman Amenodin U. Sumagayan said the bill, titled the Public Safety Act, aims “to strengthen the protection of the people of the ARMM.”
The “high crime rate, drug abuse, threat of violent extremism and the Marawi conflict, born out of terrorism” in the region prompted Sumagayan to author the bill.
He noted that at present, no office provides centralized control on crises in the ARMM’s local government units.
“They depend heavily on national agencies, in terms of peace and order, such as the Philippine National Police and the Armed Forces of the Philippines. This makes the LGUs helpless or less prepared to cope with situations that endanger the public,” the assemblyman said.
Hence, the bill aims to enhance the security in the community with a local system or a command center to be organized after the establishment of the POSO, Sumagayan said. It would assist in law enforcement, medical services, fire, traffic, rescue and emergency services, and disaster relief operations, and would have a 24/7 emergency hotline.
The POSO will also recommend the supply of temporary terminal permits for public utility vehicles, traffic clearances for business establishments, security clearances for security agencies, and clearing of sidewalks of illegal vendors and other obstructions.
The command center will be led by the city or town mayor as the chairman and the POSO chief as the vice chairman, the proposal read.
“In the past years, the peace and order situation in ARMM has been extremely challenging. Violence in the region is motivated by politics, personal vendetta or substance abuse. Still, there has been some progress. Aside from the positive reception of this bill, the Regional Government has been holding regular Regional Peace and Order Council Meetings,” said Sumagayan.
He pointed out that the ARMM is learning to stand on its own in handling crises instead of relying solely on the national government.
Sumagayan hopes that when his bill becomes a law, its strict enforcement in the different LGUs would reduce crime and maintain public safety in ARMM.
“The POSO thru the command center will make it more accessible for the people to report different lawless elements that would threaten their community. The constituents can seek help at the command center when their safety is at risk. It should be noted also that this bill will also address natural catastrophe and traffic-related problems in the locality,” he said.
Sumagayan notes that to get people’s cooperation, LGUs should hold programs that will make them aware on how the POSO can help.
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