CAGAYAN DE ORO CITY – President Rodrigo Roa Duterte on Monday, June 25, urged the country’s village chiefs to join the administration in its campaign to eliminate street crimes and maintain peace and order.
The Chief Executive made the appeal during the mass oath-taking of newly-elected barangay officials of Region X held at The Atrium at Limketkai Center here.
Speaking to the new barangay leaders, President Duterte said they should protect the welfare of their constituents in fulfillment of their duty specifically from the dangers posed by “tambays” or street loiterers.
Citing a recent Social Weather Stations (SWS) survey, the President said Filipino families have become victims of street crimes including theft and robbery, carnapping, sexual harassment, and physical violence, among others.
“Fear of burglary, fear of unsafe streets and presence of drug addicts, ‘yan talaga ang takot ng mga tao dito,” he said.
He noted that as village chiefs, it is their duty to protect the welfare of the public saying that the local government is mandated to enforce existing national laws.
“Kayong mga barangay captains, do what is your duty. You are more than just a policeman because you are mayors. You are the governor and the president of your barangay,” Duterte said.
“You have to protect the people, kayong mga barangay captains, and you must see to it that the nation is preserved,” he added.
The President, however, warned that if records still show high crime rates and drug-related incidents in their respective barangays, the chieftains would be charged with neglect of duty.
“And the next time is gross neglect and I will simply, upon the recommendation — upon investigation, recommendation of General Año, if he says that you should go, I will dismiss you,” said Duterte.
Duterte, meanwhile, vowed to protect local chief executives as long as they fulfill their mandate to the public, assuring them of their safety and his full support.
Frisking of loiterers
In the same speech, President Duterte said his order was to have loiterers frisked and not arrested, explaining that minors caught loitering would be merely taken under the custody of the social welfare department for their protection and not for arrest.
Duterte stressed that under the law, the frisking of loiterers and taking into custody of minors are legal unless the Supreme Court declares otherwise.
He added that invoking police power of the state to establish order and safety is not subject to legislation.
“We call them istambay. That’s the word. That is my order. And you continue to frisk people who are there doon sa dalan (streets) and that is legal. Until such time, that is my order,” he said.
“The President can order, the mayor can order, the barangay can order — can issue regulations to protect public health, public safety, public order, and to protect the general welfare of the people,” he added.
Following the oath-taking, President Duterte proceeded to Camp Edilberto Evangelista Station Hospital to visit soldiers who were wounded in action. ### PND