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Sinas stops ‘localization’ of police

PHILIPPINE National Police chief, General Debold M. Sinas yesterday said he has scrapped the ‘localization program’ of his predecessor, now retired Gen. Camilo Pancratius P. Cascolan since they already have procedures on transferring their men.

“I already stopped it. We have procedures on how to transfer our men and alam po nila kung anong gagawin,” he told the Journal Group during a press conference at Camp Crame.

According to the 25th PNP chief, the National Capital Region Police Office which he formerly headed was greatly affected by Cascolan’s order and would want to mitigate its impact on their men specifically during the pandemic.

“Just look, me pandemic tayo tapos ikot ng ikot mga tao natin, it involves around 4,000 to 5,000 policemen. It really affects our anti-criminality campaign and our anti-COVID 19 measures,” Sinas said.

The PNP chief however said that those who have been issued orders already need to report to their new assignments while those without have to report to their mother units. “Sa totoo lang, marami pong nagparevoke ng order at sinabi naman na hindi sila nagrequest ng transfer,” he said.

During the first days of Cascolan in office, he implemented the ‘localization program’ which came under protest from many local chief executives in Metro Manila including those who lost hundreds of their men to the directive without any replacement.

However, Cascolan clarified that the new PNP Localization Program of assignment of police personnel means “transfer with corresponding replacement or swapping of personnel”.

“When you say localization, this is the transfer with proper swapping of personnel. Ibig sabihin, 1:1. Localization means going to near or at the area of your residence,” Cascolan said.

The former PNP chief also said that the program is the PNP leadership’s way to boost their morale and to tell to police officers to do their best in performing their duty as law enforcers in their respective communities.

“This is a one way to tell to our personnel that we expect the best performance from them and to tell them that we are taking care of them,” he said.

He likewise allayed apprehensions and misconceptions by some local executives whom he claimed were apparently misinformed of the wisdom and intent of this deployment program.

“I am just happy to know that some mayors really understood our localization program. This will be a transfer of personnel to other regions but with the swapping of other personnel,” he explained.

As the 24th PNP chief, Cascolan moved for the Localization of Assignment program initiated by the Directorate for Personnel and Records Management saying it is clearly stated in Section 63 of Republic Act 8551 or the Philippine National Police Reform and Reorganization Act of 1998.

The law indicates the provision for PNP members with the ranks of Patrolman/woman up to Police Executive Master Sergeant will be “assigned to the city and municipality of their recruitment and/or place of residence or if not possible, to the closest municipality, province or regions to his residence.”

“Assignment to one’s hometown, province or region gives a police officer the sense of ownership of the locality that he represents,” Cascolan explained.

The PNP-DPRM reported during the time of Cascolan that a total of 8,561 personnel have signified intention to be reassigned in their places of residence, but the lists were cut down to 7,410 PNCOs who qualified for the program.

Among reassignment requests, 4,742 personnel have signified to transfer to National Capital Region, 841 PNCOs wanted to be reassigned to CALABARZON, 475 personnel to Central Luzon, and 475 cops wanted to go back to Bangsamoro Autonomous Region. While the rest of the regions got less than 200 localization requests.