Chief Supt. Ager Ontog, the regional director of the Philippine National Police (PNP) in Region 7, which comprises the provinces of Central Visayas, on Tuesday announced that he will bring to the PNP hierarchy the Cops on Board program of Negros Oriental and will push for its replication in other parts of the country.
Ontog, along with Gov. Roel Degamo, graced the launching of the Cops on Board program, conceived by Negros Oriental provincial police director Sr. Supt. Rey Lyndon Lawas, to enhance security measures and provide safety to the riding public, to include passengers and drivers and conductors of public utility transport vehicles.
Chief Supt. Ontog, who lauded Sr. Supt. Lawas for his “innovative strategy”, and describing as a new program in the region, said the Cops on Board program not only complements but serves as an “expanded version” of the Police Integrated Patrol System (PIPS), in addressing criminality, terrorism and other activities that put public safety at risk.
Chief Supt. Ontog, highlighted three points of the Cops on Board Program, one of which is that it is preventive and pro-active as it serves as a deterrent to crime and removes opportunity, one of three of a crime. According to Ontog, deploying police personnel on board buses and other public transport would prevent violence, injuries of passengers and those working in the bus industry.
Secondly, the program is innovative and thought of “out-of-the-box”, referring to the ordinary crime fighting strategies as seen in the PIPS, such as the conduct of checkpoints, police visibility, and operations. Ontog expressed hope that the PNP hierarchy can assess this program in the next few months so that this may be replicated nationwide.
This program will also help bolster partnership between the police organization and the community, as it engages the public’s support and cooperation in crime fighting.
Finally, the Cops on Board program is a very simple and cost effective way for the organization in preventing crimes.
“You have a very important responsibility being placed on your shoulders. Do not belittle this task, as this is a serious task on hand, and we can only give justice to the program by performing our duties in our job with dedication, with professionalism, and always with regards to the safety and well-being of the the Cops on Board. “Make us proud, make your PNP proud,” Ontog added.
A total of 50 cops, two each from the 20 towns and five cities of Negros Oriental, were officially declared as the first batch of Cops on Board, and were given special identification cards to distinguish them from the regular police personnel. They will begin their first tour of duty on Wednesday, when people are expected to take a break for the long weekend in observance of Holy Week.
A simple scheme is for these cops to board buses from one boundary to the next, unless otherwise required in special cases when they may have to travel to the next town of city, said Sr. Supt. Lawas, who also assured that measures are in place to avoid possible abuses by other police personnel, such as taking advantage of a free ride.
Police personnel who are not in uniform and do not have the special Cops on Board ID cards are to be treated like civilians and equally charged prevailing fare rates, he added.
Lawas also assured that there will be no vacuum left in the police stations with the deployment of Cops on Board as there are enough personnel to be assigned to regular duties and functions. (PNA) JFP