DAVAO CITY, Philippines – The city government’s implementation of its second “community exercise” to build its “culture of security” goes to the barangay level as it targets an alleged communist threat in the city.
The second exercise has been announced earlier being implemented this time in the barangays, unlike the first simulation in October last year in malls and public places.
Task Force Davao Commander Colonel Consolita Yecla, one of the leaders of the city’s security cluster, in an interview explained that this exercise is part of the government’s anti-terrorism drive after receiving reports that the New People’s Army (NPA) ordered the re-organization of its Special Partisan Units (SPARU) in urban cities.
The report claimed the SPARU will “liquidate uniformed personnel and Barangay Officials” supportive of the president’s Executive Order 70 which constituted the Task Force to End Local Communist Armed Conflict.
The government has tagged the Communist Party of the Philippines and its armed wing the NPA as terrorists after canceling peace talks in 2017.
TF Davao will be casting 20 individuals or what they call “rabbits” to pose as Sparu members deployed in some barangays for the simulation exercise.
They expect citizens to report to assigned phone numbers if they see these actors performing “very unusual” behavior actions such as asking for information on the presence of government forces in the purok or barangay, checking on the placement of CCTV and people who constantly visit the barangay with no significant purposes.
Last Friday, TF Davao has deployed four actors in a test run of the community exercise in one barangay under the jurisdiction of the Sta Ana Police Station. Three of these actors were reported and “captured”.
Just like the first community exercise, netizens have mixed reactions. On the City Government of Davao’s Facebook page, some raised concerns of conducting these exercises in the barangays may cause anxiety and panic.
Mayor Sara Duterte-Carpio reminded Davao City residents to take part in this exercise.
“Peace and security is the task of everyone, all the residents of Davao City, This community exercise, we urge all to participate,” she said.
Despite this call for Culture of Security, Davao City Police Director Kirby John Kraft, in a recent press conference, downplayed intelligence reports about the NPA SPARU coming into the city, stating that the city is “generally peaceful.” (davaotoday.com)AFP, armed forces of the philippines, davao city, Davao City Mayor Sara Duterte-Carpio, New People's Army, NPA, TF Davao