Lacson vows to grill PNP on suspicious ‘Intensified Cleanliness Policy’

Published August 8, 2021, 2:58 PM

by Hannah Torregoza 

Senator Panfilo Lacson on Sunday said he will ask the Philippine National Police (PNP) to explain to the Senate the motive behind its so-called “Intensified Cleanliness Policy” or ICP and its relation to the National Task Force for Ending Local Communist Armed Conflict (NTF-ELCAC).

Lacson said he will specifically ask Police Maj. Gen. Rodel Sermonia, the PNP’s director for Police Community Relations (PCR) whom he said is the one making the rounds among communities to gather individual email addresses, mobile phone numbers and other personal information.

The senator, a former PNP chief, reiterated that the PNP leadership has already denied it is conducting “census” activities and thus, any reported data-gathering activities, which is happening in some barangays within Luzon, Visayas, and Mindanao, should stop.

“I was told they wanted to talk to me, I said fine. I will ask him to explain what does ‘intensified cleanliness policy’ of the PNP mean? What will they clean? The military itself said that the barangays have already been cleared (of insurgency). Why use NTF-ELCAC funds for development programs? What else does the PNP have to clean up?” Lacson said in Filipino in an interview on Radio DZBB.

“You know, it’s easy to coin terms…we already have so many acronyms, we keep on asking what does it mean? What does the PNP’s intensified cleanliness policy advocate for in relation to the NTF-ELCAC?” he pointed out.

According to Lacson, not all police officers are keen on following the ICP because they already have an inkling where the information that would be gathered would be used.

“Not all are happy with it, there are those in the PNP who have a conscience. They are asked to do something which their conscience could not accept. And they precisely believe that all of this leads to or would be used in the upcoming (May 2022) elections,” he pointed out.

Lacson said that while he initially subscribes to the idea on the need to allocate developmental programs to sustain the government’s anti-insurgency programs and prevent communities from returning to the communist fold, he would no longer support it if the funds were clearly misused and will back moves to scrap the reported P40-billion proposed budget for the NTF-ELCAC in the 2022 national budget.

Lacson said even former House Speaker Pantaleon Alvarez had told them that though Davao Del Norte had more than 2,000 New Peoples Army (NPA) surrenderers, they received zero barangay development funds under the NTF-ELCAC.

Yet Davao City, which has no surrenderers received P1.5-billion, the senator noted.

“And in fairness to Mayor Sara Duterte, didn’t she say, we don’t need that money?” he pointed out.

“That’s why there is clearly a need to scrutinize the NTF-ELCAC and its funds. Because the military itself has said that the number of NPA regulars are just now down to 3,500. If there’s a huge cut in the number of NPA regulars, then why are they asking for additional funds for the NTF-ELCAC? And P40-billion at that?” Lacson asked.