Governor Arthur Yap has enlisted the aid of the hundreds of village chiefs in Bohol’s coastal towns to boost border security of the island province.
Yap on Tuesday convened 372 barangay captains from coastal villages led by Liga ng mga Barangay president ex-officio Provincial Board Member Romulo Cepedoza to impart the importance of village officials in augmenting the monitoring and intelligence capabilities of state security forces.
“Asa mo gikan ang atong advantage, asa gikan ang tactical and strategic advantage sa Bohol? Mo gikan ninyo tanan because you are the barangay captains in more than 300 coastal communities who are exposed to the sea,” said Yap.
“Bug-at ang responsibilidad ninyo to know what is going on,” he added.
According to Yap, his administration has been moving to make Bohol a training center for state security agencies including the Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP), Philippine Coast Guard (PCG) and the Philippine National Police (PNP) to increase the number of state troops in the province.
The province earlier lost the Philippine Army’s 302nd Infantry Brigade which was deployed in Negros to aid in the government’s efforts to crush communist insurgency in the two-province island, but its parent unit the Capiz-based 302nd Infantry Division, Yap said, has made Bohol its training center.
Meanwhile, the PNP is also set to deploy PNP-Special Action Force companies to Bohol while the AFP and PCG will be establishing training centers in the province, he added.
Yap who has repeatedly highlighted his tourism-centric governance said that heightened security measures are needed to keep tourists and locals alike safe.
“Mao ng naningkamot ta mahimo tang training center sa Kabisay-an so that there will always be troops and personnel na mobisita diri sa Bohol para makatabang sa peace and order situation nato,” he said.
Previously, Bohol Provincial Police Office director Colonel Jonathan Cabal who confirmed that illegal drugs in Bohol are not manufactured locally and are only shipped from other localities also noted the need for contribution from barangay officials in monitoring the province’s coastline.
Cabal said in an earlier interview that barangay officials are crucial in monitoring non-port areas for illegal drug activities and other criminality.
“Isa lang coastline natin, hindi natin basta-basta mabantayan at kung dun man tayo babantay sa pantalan, makakdaong at makakadaong naman yung mga banca dun sa mga non-port areas so ang barangay ang kailangan doon as first line of defense,” he added.
The new top cop also bared the need for increased efforts in conducting seaborne patrols to monitor waters surrounding the island province.
“Yun yung sabi ni governor na palakasin pa yung intelligence effort tapos yung sa dagat dapat meron din tayong mag-interdict at the same time magbantay sa laot,” he said. (R. Tutas)