By Ali G. Macabalang
COTABATO CITY – Philippine National Police chief Gen. Guillermo Eleazar has assured leaders of the Bangsamoro Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao (BARMM) that the country’s police force is more disciplined now than ever.
Gen Eleazar conveyed the assurance to lawyer Naguib Sinarimbo, BARMM Interior and Local Government minister, at the meeting here that formed part of the PNP chief’s three-day tour of police offices in the Bangsamoro region on July 19 to 21.
The local media quoted Eleazar as telling Minister Sinarimbo that the police organization “is now well organized, well-disciplined, and more ready to serve and protect the people” in what other host officials described as reassuring in the wake of some controversial instances in this city.
It may be recalled that some city cops were caught in cellphone cameras uprooting BARMM flags along roadsides here during the 2nd founding anniversary fete of the autonomous government last Jan. 18. Observers condemned the act as a show of policemen playing “political partisan” for the city hall’s rejection of the regional governance.
The incident was heralded by media entities, notably The Philippine Muslim Today news. In less than two weeks, the sitting city police director was replaced.
Minister Sinarimbo received Eleazar, who was sporting a Bangsamoro head gear, and thanked him “for joining us in the celebration of Eid ul Adha,” an Islamic holiday that fell on July 20 this year. Their meeting happened that day.
“We discussed peace and order issues in the region and we briefed him on the implementation of our programs in support of the PNP such as the ongoing construction of four municipal police stations, distribution of 5 police patrol vehicles, and the procurement of additional 5 police stations in the region,” Sinarimbo said in a Facebook post.
Eleazar was in this city since July 19 evening for an inspection at the city police office after visiting their headquarters in Tawi-Tawi, the second segment of his three-day swing to PNP offices in the BARMM.
He also inspected the Police Regional Office (PRO)-BARMM headquarters in nearby Parang, Maguindanao.
On July 18, Eleazar visited the police offices in Maimbung, Sulu, and those in Basilan province, and aired elation.
“I was surprised to see our police stations in the region where I visited unannounced,” he said. “Due to bad weather, our helicopter was diverted on Monday morning to the Jolo police office in Sulu which was not part of our itinerary after our visit to Tawi-Tawi, and I was surprised that the Sulu stations were very clean, organized, and beautiful.”
Eleazar was referring to the Jolo police station and the Sulu provincial police headquarters, both situated in the municipality, which he described as “very tidy” in appearance.
He lauded BARMM governance for its assistance extended to the police organization, and batter for a swift action in preventing law enforcement problems.
“Small problems must be addressed immediately to prevent these problems from getting worse,” he said.
From here, Eleazar and his party proceeded to Marawi City in Lanao del Sur to complete his tour in BARMM. (AGM)
(Attached is a photo of PNP Chief Guillermo Eleazar in his meeting with Minister Naguib Sinarimbo on July 20.)