President Rodrigo Duterte has urged all barangay officials to join the government’s fight against all forms of criminality and illegal drugs, saying community officials play a vital role in ensuring peace and order in the country.
In his message during the Barangay Summit on Peace and Order in Palo, Leyte, as delivered by Interior Secretary Eduardo Año on Friday, Duterte said it is important that local communities participate in the government’s campaign against what he calls the ills of the country.
“Peace and order and the adherence to the rule of law are vital in ensuring the progress of a nation,” Duterte’s message read.
“It is imperative for our local communities to contribute to this undertaking by advocating and implementing policies and programs that strengthen the government’s campaign against illegal drugs, criminality, corruption, and terrorism,” added the President, who was ill and did not make the event.
This developed as National Capital Region police chief Director Guillermo Eleazar on Saturday appealed to the public to remain calm and vigilant in the aftermath of the Jolo cathedral bombing that claimed 22 lives last Sunday.
Eleazar stressed there is no security threat against Metro Manila, even as government forces have stepped up attacks against the terrorist Abu Sayyaf Group and the communist New People’s Army.
The Philippine National Police have tightened security around churches and mosques in Metro Manila following the Jolo bombing, which also injured over 100 churchgoers.
“We have no reliable or confirmed threat here in Metro Manila, but we did the security inspections just the same to keep our police prepared and active, and to be more vigilant for the sake of our citizens,” Eleazar told radio dzBB.
A unity prayer walk has been scheduled for Sunday to call for cooperation to achieve security, he added.
In Palo, the President via Año also expressed his gratitude to the barangay captains of Eastern Visayas for their unwavering commitment to eradicate the ills of the society.
“Our barangays play a crucial role in preserving and protecting the rights and freedoms of our citizenry. Indeed, it is in our local communities that the values of social responsibility, civic duty, and justice are fostered,” Duterte said.
“I am confident that you will remain as this administration’s reliable partners in implementing peace and order programs that ensure the safety and security of our communities and help uplift the lives of our countrymen,” he added.
“Your support in these endeavors has indeed improved the capacity of our law enforcement agencies in defending our freedoms and liberties,” the President said.
Duterte expressed hope the youth will be able to learn from their local communities about nation-building and selflessness.
“The result of your hard work serves as an inspiration for our people, especially the youth, to take part in the noble work of nation-building. May your selflessness further inspire your constituents to become agents of positive change as well,” he said.
Eleazar said police are monitoring convergence points, vital installations, transportation hubs, and malls. He also met with members of the Muslim community in Quiapo on Friday for a prayer rally.
The Muslim community in Quiapo promised to cooperate with the PNP and reiterated to authorities that true Islam is for peace, the NCR police chief said.