PNP to candidates: Watch out for your personal safety

THREE days before the May 13 national and local elections, the Philippine National Police leadership yesterday appealed anew on all candidates in Monday’s polls to watch for their personal safety and help authorities detect and thwart possible threats to their lives.

Apart from providing qualified candidates and other individuals with security, the PNP has also offered the candidates  as well as others who are performing sensitive jobs some practical tips that could help save them from armed threats.

The PNP leadership headed by Director General Oscar D. Albayalde admitted that the personal safety and security of every candidate during the election period always pose a challenge to law enforcement agencies, the PNP in particular, thus the need for them to maintain a high level of alertness since police cannot possibly monitor and secure candidates in every election.

Previous elections have been characterized by intense partisan political rivalries that resulted in violent incidents. During the 2010, 2007 and 2010 elections alone, police recorded a total of 658 election-related violent incidents which killed a total of 104 politicians/candidates.

In most cases, the victims were shot at close range by motorcycle-riding criminals or guns-for-hire who attacked them while they were in their workplaces, in transit, near their workplaces or residences or while campaigning.

Thus, the PNP has offered valuable tips to detect threats on life.

The Journal Group was requested to write the Threat Detection and Threat Assessment Tips issued by the PNP to better educate the public on what they should or  should not do when confronted by death threats.

PNP spokesman, Colonel Bernard M. Banac, agreed that ‘every citizen must also develop his/her own safety core competency’ and must consider tips that could save precious lives and properties.

The following are the Do’s and Don’ts’ to prevent attacks from criminals.

DOs:

In your daily routine, make an assessment if the person, the subject of your inquiry is capable in terms of resources and manpower of inflicting harm to a person.

Write down details of any suspicious actions of person or persons you have observed or noticed. Notes help us remember what had transpired in our observation.

Refer to your employer or a security officer, if any, your suspicions or observations on a person who is likely conducting surveillance on you or your officemate.

If you have been critical and have exposed significant or sensitive issues against a prominent person, monitor and get information, if possible, on the reaction of said person.

Consider also your personal dealings as a possible cause for someone to plan to harm you or your family.

Advise your family and     the neighborhood to inform you of any person asking any details about you including your present disposition. Ask them to write down details of the suspected surveillance.

Educate your family, employees and household personnel on security awareness
DON’Ts:

Do not trust your memory. Write down immediately your observations specifically on the 5Ws and 1 H (Who, What, When, Where, Why and How).

Do not play the role of a secret agent or a detective. If you see someone stalking you, look at him in the eyes within a reasonable distance to let him know that you saw him and you will remember him the next time you meet. Write down details.

Do not accost or confront the individual conducting surveillance on you. He might already be the assassin and that would only give him the opportunity to do his trade.

Do not take any threat for granted as it may cost you your life including the lives of your family.
Do not try to handle any threat situation by yourself. Always consult or refer to your employees, security officer and eventually, the police authorities.

Banac said the above tips should be taken into consideration by all people specifically people whose profession or natures of job have made them a natural target of harm.

They include hard-hitting journalists, law enforcers, appointed and elected government officials, judges, lawyers, businessmen and even Church officials.

The PNP also says although there are actual situations that may not always be avoided, ‘everybody should never be taken entirely by surprise,’ thus the need for all to be smart and be safe, to always trust your instincts, be aware, be discreet and be prepared at all times.

PSPG agents: Don’t tolerates
abuses of  VIPs

APART from fully implementing the ‘Alunan Doctrine’ which limits to only two the number of armed security personnel for politicians, the PNP has also reiterated a directive for all Protective Security Personnel from the Police Security and Protection Group (PSPG) not to tolerate the wrong habits and particularly the unlawful orders of VIPs under their protection.

Gen. Albayalde has earlier ordered PSPG director, Brigadier General Filmore B. Escobal to strictly study the application for security protection of private citizens in the country to prevent a repetition of embarrassing incidents in the past.

Escobal said they are also evaluating the assignment of PSPG personnel to civilians including rich businessmen since they don’t want a repeat of an incident in which two PSPG agents were found to be acting as bodyguards of a daughter of jailed suspected female drug lord Yu Yuk Lai.

At present, a PSPG agent’s detail order is being renewed every month. However, the private citizen being protected should be able to prove that there is an existing threat to his/her life, the validation being conducted by the PNP Directorate for Intelligence.