CAGAYAN DE ORO CITY, Philippines – The city government turned down an Army proposal to organize a militia force that would boost security operations in the city.
The proposal was to recruit and arm an initial 88 civilians and turn them into military-trained members of the Special Civilian Armed Forces Geographical Unit Active Auxillary (SCAA) to serve in an Army task force created to help the police in cracking down on criminals and ward off threats to the city’s peace and order.
There are no paramilitary groups in Cagayan de Oro.
The military proposal came in the wake of a spate of killings in the city barely a month after the new mayor, Rolando Uy, assumed his post.
But Uy rejected the Army proposal, saying he preferred to add more baton-wielding ronda tanod (village civilian-police) members than militia members with guns.
“It is not time to have a regular SCAA force to help the police,” said Councilor Romeo Calizo, chairman of the city council’s police and public safety committee.
Uy and Calizo, a retired Army general, said city hall planned to field at least 200 tanod volunteers to the streets and augment Cagayan de Oro’s 10 police precincts instead.
Uy said the volunteers, who would be entitled to allowances, would be trained, and work under the direct supervision of the Cagayan de Oro City Police Office (COCPO).
Cagayan de Oro police chief Colonel Aaron Mandia said each of the 10 police precincts would have 20 tanod volunteers to help maintain peace and order throughout the city.
Presently, the ratio is one police officer for every 800 people in the city. Officials said the ideal ratio is one police officer for every 500 people.
The proposal to recruit civilians, arm, and turn them into Arny-trained militiamen was made during a July 21 security briefing presided over by Councilor Edgar Cabanlas who represented Uy, who was out of town that day.
Representatives of Task Force Oro, an Army unit tasked to help in securing Cagayan de Oro, said they lacked soldiers for the security operations in the city.
The task force is only composed of 30 soldiers and Army officers.
Based on the Army proposal, the 4th Infantry Division would train the recruits for 45 days, and provide them militia uniforms, firearms, and other equipment similar to Task Force Davao and a similar group in Valencia City in Bukidnon. – Rappler.com