Barangay chairmen are currently defenseless against lawless elements in their respective communities. Volunteers Against Crime and Corruption (VACC) chairman Martin Dino says this is because even barangay “Captains” are finding it extremely difficult to secure “PTC’s” or Permits-To-Carry firearms from the Philippine National Police (PNP) nowadays.
Dino says that chairmen of crime infested barangays are the most vulnerable. He explained that the barangay chairman is the community’s first line of defense against criminals and other social miscreants. Lawless elements may seize this opportunity to settle the score with the neighborhood Kapitan, he warned.
The Barangay is the smallest government unit in the Philippines, covering roughly a neighborhood. The Barangay Chairman is an elected official wielding some executive and quasi-judicial powers in his/her small locale. He also commands the “Barangay Tanods” or neighborhood watch, who act as unarmed force multipliers to the local police.
Dino, who himself was once a barangay chairman, lashed out at what he called “senseless” gun control measures being unilaterally implemented by the current PNP leadership. He said by keeping law-abiding citizens unarmed, the police is actually contributing to the rise of criminality instead of curbing it. “Bakit hindi yung mga kriminal ang disarmahan nila, hindi yung mga mabubuting tao (Why don’t they disarm the criminals instead of honest people),” Dino asked?
In the talk show General Assignment, aired over Global News Network (GNN) every Wednesday at 8PM, the VACC chairman said that an unarmed barangay chairman cannot risk taking an aggressive stand against criminality in his respective community. He added that it is very evident that crime is still on the rise despite the PNP’s apparently counter-productive gun control policies. Dino called on the police to avoid being so stingy in issuing PTC’s to incumbent barangay officials.
The VACC is a civil society organization composed mainly of victims of heinous crimes, their families, friends and other close associates. The group has been critical of government’s apparent inability to stop what is widely seen as a rise in violent crimes.