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Let’s work together for peace, security, Sinas tells UP community

PHILIPPINE National Police chief General Debold M. Sinas yesterday called on police commanders in areas where there are University of the Philippines’ campuses to further enhance their partnership with the UP community to help address peace and order concerns.

This developed as the Laguna Police Provincial Office and the UP-Los Baños community agreed to foster better cooperation and understanding of peace and order and security issues in the state university campus.

UPLB is no stranger to some heinous crimes. In October 2014, a 17-year-old UPLB freshman was raped by a tricycle driver near the campus. In July 2016, three security guards were arrested by the local police in connection with the rape of two women, one of them a UPLB student.

On August 31, 2016, a Laguna court convicted a tricycle driver for the rape-slaying of UPLB student Given Grace Cebanico in 2016. Suspect Percival de Guzman was sentenced to three life imprisonment terms for rape with homicide and another 12 to 17 years for qualified theft.

Last Thursday, UPLB and Laguna PPO officials respectively led by Dr. Jose Camacho Jr. and Colonel Serapin F. Petalio II held a coordinating meeting on community safety. Discussed during the meeting were issues on campus security as well as peace and order concerns outside the campus, particularly in the UPLB housing areas in other towns of Laguna.

During the meeting, the two parties agreed to create a Technical Working Group that will craft a Memorandum of Agreement for the “UPLB Ko, Bantay Ko” program set to roll out next month.

“The PNP seeks to build stronger collaboration among stakeholders to protect campuses against criminal activities, drug syndicates, and organizations that promote and espouse Local Communist Armed Conflict against government thru force and violence,” Gen. Sinas said as he lauded the initiatives of the Laguna PPO and the Police Regional Office 4-A headed by Brigadier Gen. Felipe R. Natividad.

The PNP chief called on police officials assigned in other UP campuses including those in Diliman in Quezon City, Manila, Mindanao, Iloilo, Miagao, Tacloban, Cebu, Baguio to launch similar initiatives while adding that “academic freedom remains constitutionally guaranteed as we are also mandated by law to protect the future of our nation from danger posed by lawless elements”.

During the meeting, PNP officials sought clarification on the policy of UPLB administration on the conduct of police operations inside the UPLB campus.

On the other hand, the Laguna PPO offered to conduct Investigation and Arrest Techniques Trainings and Drug Awareness Symposia for the UPLB community.

The UPLB panel assured the local police of their continuing support. It also proposed a Memorandum of Agreement for the conduct of Off-Campus Graduate Program on Strategic Planning and Development Management for qualified personnel of Laguna PPO.

Both panels agreed to hold quarterly coordinating meetings or emergency meetings with personnel of the Laguna PPO, the Los Baños Municipal Police Station and chairmen of different barangays surrounding UPLB campus on urgent matters.

Other UPLB officials present during the dialog were Dr. Roberto Cereno, Vice Chancellor for Community Affairs; Dr. Fernando Paras Jr, Vice Chancellor for Planning and Development; Dr. Eileen Lorena Mamino, Assistant to the Chancellor; Dr. Benevieve Villanueva, Assistant of the Vice-Chancellor, Community Affairs; and retired Col. Ricardo Silab, the chief of the UPLB Police Force.