YEARENDER: DILG cites significant accomplishments in 2008

Published by rudy Date posted on January 9, 2009

MANILA, Philippines — The year 2008 has been good for the Department of the Interior and Local Government (DILG) and its attached agencies, including the Philippine National Police (PNP), the Bureau of Fire Protection (BFP) and the Bureau of Jail Management and Penology (BJMP).

DILG Secretary Ronaldo Puno said the decisive steps the department had taken in maintaining peace and order, the intensified implementation of critical local development projects particularly in Mindanao, and the pivotal role it played in carrying out the government’s centerpiece program on eradicating red tape topped the list of accomplishments of the DILG in 2008.

During the past year, the DILG also stepped up its efforts to professionalize the national police force and sustained its programs in the public safety sector, particularly in decongesting the country’s district, city and municipal jails.

The PNP made significant strides in keeping the country’s streets and homes safe from crime, with the crime solution efficiency rate increasing by 1.34 percent in 2008 to 89.46 percent from 88.28 percent in 2007.

This despite the increase in crime incidents by 2.11 percent, from 50,569 cases in 2007 to 51,636 from January to September 2008.

Police recorded the average monthly crime rate at 6.47 percent in 2008, which is 1.37 percent lower than 2007’s record of 6.56 percent.

The DILG also played a key role in restoring law and order in central Mindanao where criminal elements of the Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF) attacked and forcibly occupied a number of barangays in the third quarter of 2008 after the signing of the proposed Memorandum of Agreement on Ancestral Domain between the government and the MILF was aborted.

Puno spearheaded the formation of a joint police-military task force to take charge of clearing communities occupied by criminal elements of the MILF so that tens of thousands of residents displaced by the attacks could return safely to their homes.

Police filed almost 200 criminal charges against MILF leaders Umbra Kato, Abdulrahman Macapaar alias Commander Bravo and over 80 of their cohorts in connection with the series of slayings of civilians and other atrocities in Central Mindanao.

The government put up a cash reward of P10 million each for the capture of Kato and Bravo while Puno visited areas in Mindanao where MILF members had struck to hold dialogues with local government executives, ulamas and Catholic bishops to help restore normalcy in the lives of the residents.

In the public safety sector, the DILG was able to acquire 48 new fire trucks in 2008 to beef up the firefighting capability of the Bureau of Fire Protection (BFP), and trained over 65,000 fire volunteers to augment the country’s fire-suppression force.

On fire prevention and suppression, the DILG said there was a slight decrease (2.24 percent) in the number of establishments subjected to fire safety inspection from 397,850 in 2007 to 388,955 in 2008.

The number of Fire Code compliant establishments, meantime, increased by 7.89 percent.

The BJMP reported that a total of 11,312 inmates were released on bail; 2,089 were released in accordance with various applicable laws; and 2,040 were transferred to the Bureau of Corrections and other penal institutions as of October 2008. The program was meant to help decongest the country’s district, municipal and city jails.

On law enforcement, the DILG said street crime incidents, which include robbery, theft, swindling/estafa and physical injury, decreased by 8 percent, or 3,855 cases from January to September 2008 as compared to last 2007’s 4,184.

Of the 3,855 street crime cases reported, 3,220 street crimes were solved for a street crime solution efficiency rate of 83.53 percent.

Bank robbery incidents plummeted by 29 percent or 12 cases from January-September 2008 as compared to 2007’s 17. Of these, three were solved for a bank robbery solution efficiency rate of 25 percent.

Car theft incidents went down by 45 percent, from 670 vehicles stolen in 2007 to 370 from January to September 2008.

Of the 370 vehicles stolen, 261 were recovered, registering a solution efficiency rate of 71 percent.

One car theft syndicate was neutralized, 51 suspects were arrested and 78 cases were filed in court against the suspected car thieves.

Eighteen kidnap-for-ransom incidents were reported from January to September 2008; seven of these solved.

The crackdown on the country’s Top Most Wanted Persons with monetary rewards during the period January-September 2008 resulted in the neutralization of 107 of them, as well as 22,080 other wanted persons, surrender of 177 persons and the killing of three felons.

Operations conducted against syndicated crime groups from January to September 2008 led to the neutralization of 346 syndicated crime groups, which is 3 percent higher than those arrested in 2007.

Another 821 persons were also arrested, leading to the recovery of 94 assorted firearms and the filing of 370 cases in court.

Puno also expressed optimism that the year 2009 can be the beginning of the best of times despite the grim predictions.

“I think that 2009 can be the beginning of the best of times. Because it is during our worst that I think we can find the greatest in ourselves. The trials that we face today in the country will lead us all to try to think more deeply of all the solutions that we have to offer our people,” said Puno.

“We are also looked upon for hope,” Puno said. “The development that we are working for is not a development that can be measured in statistics. It is a development that is felt in the different communities that we serve.”

Puno said police, firemen and jailguards should not lose heart in the face of criticism, noting that he himself received 80 percent criticism and only 20 percent praise.

“Sometimes, we are so used to criticism that we forget the few who appreciate what we do. There are many out there who appreciate the sacrifice that you undertake every single day,” he told officials of the PNP, BFP, BJMP and the Philippine Public Safety College during the traditional New Year’s call recently.

“Just remember always that the sacrifice that you make is compensated for by the improved lives of everyone around you,” Puno stressed.–Cecille Suerte Felipe, Philippine Star

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