AFP, PNP form BOI to revisit coordination policies amid Jolo shooting incident

Published July 6, 2020, 1:23 PM

by Aaron Recuenco 

Top police and military officials met on Monday to review and improve the existing operational procedures to prevent a repeat of unnecessary incidents involving policemen and soldiers on the ground similar to what happened in Jolo last week.

Lt. Gen. Archie Francisco Gamboa(Police Regional Office 10 / FILE PHOTO / MANILA BULLETIN)
Lt. Gen. Archie Francisco Gamboa (Police Regional Office 10 / FILE PHOTO / MANILA BULLETIN)

Gen. Archie Francisco Gamboa, chief of the Philippine National Police (PNP), said part of the meeting is the creation of a Board of Inquiry (BOI) composed of police and military officials which will start with revisiting the existing policies on the aspect of coordination.

“We will thresh out our organizational matters in the creation of a Board of Inquiry which will be launched together with the AFP Inspector General and the Inspector General of the Internal Affairs Service (IAS) of the PNP,” said Gamboa.

He clarified that the BOI will not look into the Jolo incident that led to the death of four soldiers at the hands of nine policemen, saying the investigation is now being done by the National Bureau of Investigation.

“We have agreed to come up with this BOI primarily to determine operational lapses and how we can improve our operational procedures, both the AFP and PNP,” Gamboa added.

He said improving the operational procedure between the police and the military is essential since interoperability of the two forces is essential especially in dealing with big threat groups like the communist rebels and terror groups.

Gamboa said recent unfortunate incidents stemmed from poor coordination between the police and the military.

He cited the case of the Mamasapano incident wherein 44 police commandos were killed, with the police feeling betrayed as they accused the military of abandoning the policemen on the ground which eventually led to the bloodbath.

The military said the Special Action Force commandos did not coordinate with them when they entered Mamasapano. It added that responding to the area where the SAF commandos were killed was not easy since it could spark a gun battle between the government and the Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF).

Last year, at least six policemen were killed while nine others were wounded when they were ambushed by soldiers who mistook them for communist rebels. Probers pointed to poor coordination as the reason as the police allegedly failed to inform the military that they would conduct a test mission in Samar, the same area where soldiers were conducting operations against a group of rebels.

“Jointly, we find our common interest in terms of operations because we are supposed to be interoperable,” said Gamboa.

“The usual problem is coordination. That’s why, the thrust now of the BOI is to study coordination from strategic down to tactical to revisit what to do so that these things will not happen again,” he added.