The “data gathering” conducted by the police force is not being used to promote partisan politics but to help ensure peace and order in the communities.
Malacañang issued the statement in defense of the “active police community” relations from the recent criticisms raised by Senator Panfilo Lacson.
The senator earlier said the Philippine National Police (PNP) Chief Gen. Guillermo Eleazar’s admission about the “data-gathering” in barangays was “alarming.” The former police chief said he could not allow the PNP “to engage in partisan politics and be ‘bastardized,’ worse—using public funds.”
Roque, however, tried to allay the concerns made by the senator.
“Unang-una hindi po ‘yan for politics ‘no, hindi po ‘yan for political purposes (First, that’s not for politics. That’s not for political purposes),” Roque said during a televised press briefing Thursday, August 12.
“Iyong tinatawag po nating active police community operations, matagal na po iyan pinatutupad. In fact sa Japan po, iyan iyong cornerstone ng kanilang pagmi-maintain ng peace and order (The active police community operations have long been implemented. In fact, in Japan, that’s the cornerstone of maintaining peace and order),” he said.
Roque said the police community relations are important in line with government’s efforts to combat terrorists and drug offenders. He noted even during the time of Lacson as police chief, the same strategy was applied.
“Pero ang sinabi naman po ni General Eleazar eh ito po’y in the spirit of volunteerism (But General Eleazar said this is in the spirit of volunteerism),” he said about the collecting of data from citizens.
“Wala pong sapilitan dito at lahat po ng impormasyon ay gagamitin lamang po para mapalakas iyong ating mga kakayahan ng pulisya na sagutin ang mga banta sa ating seguridad (This is not mandatory and all information will be used to strengthen the police’s capacity to address security threats),” he said.
Lacson earlier questioned the alleged census conducted by the PNP’s community relations group using the funds of the National Task Force to End Local Communist Armed Conflict (NTF-ELCAC).
Eleazar assured Lacson that information obtained from civilians are “products of volunteerism and purely intended to strengthen the partnership between the police and the community in the fight against criminality and terrorism.”