The 47th Infantry Battalion stationed in Bohol gears up for the upcoming order to pair with the police in running after suspected drug personalities in the province as repeatedly announced by President-elect Rodrigo Duterte.
Lt. Col. Jose Dodjie Belloga Jr., commander of the 47th IB of the Philippine Army, said his troop takes the challenge and would be training to suit in the specific police operations required.
He said they are ready to augment the police in conducting drug raids, but they have to undergo trainings yet for this purpose.
In Bohol, there are around 300 military personnel, while there are Civilian Armed Forces Geographical Units (CAFGUs) who might also be tapped.
Belloga also believes the military can also help in the intelligence gathering in determining police officers protecting druglords and other crime syndicates.
This came after reports from the Bohol Police Provincial Office (BPPO) that at least one-fourth of the province have been affected by blatant illegal drugs activities.
Intelligence reports verified that ten towns—four in the first district, six in the second district, and one in the third district—have alarming level of the drug menace.
The aggressive campaign against illegal drugs started upon the order of Gov. Edgar Chatto since assumption to office on his first term.
Chatto made it the main factor in choosing provincial directors of the BPPO.
The governor required for police provincial directors to qualify for the job to have the commitment to run after drug personalities on daily basis, as he said drug abuse is the root of all crimes and ridding the province of illegal drugs is the best way to deter the spread of other crimes.
Crime volume is a hindrance to development and turn-off for investors, Chatto added.
Meanwhile, Duterte had repeatedly mentioned in his speeches that the first executive order he would make upon assumption to office â€œwould be to declare the illegal drug threat as a national security issueâ€, as reported in the national media.
The President-elect said elite soldiers will be mobilized alongside the cops in anti-illegal drugs campaign.
The nationwide anti-illegal drugs campaign will require â€œtwo divisions of the Philippine Army and 3,000 policemenâ€, according to Duterte.
In his Bohol rallies prior to the elections, Duterte assured that for this, salaries of policemen and soldiers would be doubled.
However, Duterte warned that policemen caught involved in illegal drugs trade will be killed.
â€œDili ko kalihok kung ang akong police corrupt ug akong military hiwi. Magsigeâ€™g illegal logging, kining magsigeâ€™g pangayo yawa, ug magsiâ€™g checkpoint. Wala naâ€™y checkpoint ang highway. No more checkpoints. Putol na. karon, kinsay mag-checkpoint? Eh di ang NPA. Wa maâ€™y problema diha. Ayâ€™ lang hilabti nang manlalabay,â€ according to Duterte.
He bragged of ridding Davao of criminals by having them killed when they refused to leave his city.
â€œAkong giingnan ang mga kriminal, hawa mo sa Davao. Dorogista hawa mo. Og wa moy kwarta pletehan ta mo. Hawa mo sa Davao kayâ€™g dimo mohawa, patyon ta gyud mo. Mao na katong nituo buhi pa to sila ronâ€ Duterte said during the rally.
Duterte had also mentioned during the Bohol rally that in Davao, cops who would hesitate might be suspected of having connived with criminals.
â€œGamiton nako ang militar ug ang police. Ang order nako gawas mo, huntinga ninyo. Arrest them and if they offer a violent resistance, patya ninyo tanan. Di ko magduha-duha,â€ he said.
Duterte had also earlier asked judges and lawyers to understand him and cited the Davao example.
â€œMga huwis, abogado, tanan, panyero—sabta ko ninyo. Akoy mosugo, pareha sa Davao, patya na, akoâ€™y bahala. Ingnaâ€™ng gisugo ni Duterte. Mao nang mga police Davao, moingon koâ€™ng patya na, patya gyud na. Kayâ€™g di gani patyon, ikaw maoy akong patyon. Letse ka, ngano man diay. Do, ayaw kog bolaha. Kayâ€™g dili ninyo patyon, magduda ko nga apil mo. Di ba, nganong di man ka kapatay, pulis man ka, unsaon mana imong baril, imo nang kitkiton? Gamita na para sa katawhan kay kitang tanan trabahante sa gobyerno,â€ Duterte had said earlier.
He had also explained that there is no question for police officers and soldiers to kill since they are there â€œto create protectionâ€.
He also assured that police personnel who are just following orders in killing criminals would be protected and that those who would testify against them might face some consequence.
Duterte said he would also make sure there would be no planting of evidence in police operations.