Pulis sa Barangay winning hearts and minds

PATROLWOMAN Ara Mae Linde of RPSB PRO 8 in Barangay Sangay, Palapag, Northern Samar, nurses a sick 7-month-old baby before taking her to a doctor. | PHOTOGRAPH COURTESY OF PNP

In Barangay Sangay, Palapag, Northern Samar, a mother in distress calls the police. The emergency: Her 7-month-old baby is suffering from high fever.

Patrolwoman Ara Mae Linde, assigned at the Revitalized Pulis sa Barangay of PNP (Philippine National Police) Regional Office 8, immediately responds and administers first aid to the sick infant. Then she takes the baby to a physician for further management and treatment.

“The prompt action for assistance given by Linde exemplifies the mission and vision of RPSB, deployed in the GIDAS (geographically isolated and disadvantage areas),” PNP Directorate for Police Community Relations chief, P/Maj. Gen. Alan Okubo tells the Daily Tribune, explaining the extraordinary role of the RPSB. “The unselfish service that they render to the community, coupled with compassion and kindness, leaves a lasting mark in the minds and hearts of the people.”

Okubo underscored the importance of police and community relations in the pursuit of a stable peace and order situation that is best exemplified by RPSB when he presented to Interior and Local Government Secretary Benjamin C. Abalos Jr. the RPSB deployment areas, including Barangay Putatan, Muntinlupa City, on 20 March.

Pilot team

The RPSB in Putatan is one of the pilot deployments of the team in an urban setting. P/Master Sgt. Lloyd Frigillana leads the 12-member unit launched last13 April 2023.

According to Okubo, the RPSB program was initiated in “pursuit of bridging the community and the government in terms of delivering basic services, strengthening of barangay-based institutions, mobilizing and organizing barangay peacekeeping forces and stabilizing the peace and order situation. The roles are on top of the police’s main mandate of preventing any potential resurgence of criminal and terrorist groups and safeguarding of communities.”

For Putatan, the RPSB has processed the birth certificates of 164 residents (eldest being 72 years old), facilitated the baptism of 84 children (the eldest being 17), and assisted in the processing of free National Bureau of Investigation clearances and free Land Transportation Office license and training.

The team also conceptualized the motorcycle ambulance which was made possible through the donation of barangay chairman Gerardo C. Teves.

“This proved to be an effective and efficient innovation since the community is highly populated with no access to 4-wheeled vehicles,” Okubo says.

In the area of law enforcement, the crime incidence in Putatan dropped by 67 percent from 37 cases in 1 April 2022 to 31 March 2023 (before RPSB) to only 12 cases in 1 April 2023 to 19 March 2024 (during RPSB).

In terms of anti-illegal drugs arrests and seizure, the figure dropped to half compared to the period before the implementation of RPSB due to the 24/7 presence of the police in the community.

Cops as tutors

Abalos made a walk-through in Putatan and interacted with children at the RPSB’s community classroom. The class conducts tutorials after school focusing on discipline and character development.

Under the RPSB, police personnel are immersed in the community so they will be able to learn firsthand from residents their primary concerns and help them find solutions to their problems.

P/Cpl. Jesabel Primero, known to the children as “Teacher Jesa,” is a member of the RPSB with a degree in education. She is in charge of the community classroom and fondly recalls the time when the children didn’t even know how to say po or opo.

“The interventions of the RPSB inculcated into these children the Filipino values of courtesy and respect,” Okubo says.

Under the RPSB, police personnel are immersed in the community so they will be able to learn firsthand from residents their primary concerns and help them find solutions to their problems.

Abalos describes RPSB as a good concept as “it humanizes the police.”

Ang pulis ay ibinababa sa barangay para doon mismo tumira, aalamin ang problema at pangangailangan ng mga residente at tutulungan silang lutasin ang mga ito (Our police go down to barangays, live with them and ask residents of their problems to help them.),” says the secretary.

Bridging gov’t and people

Abalos commends the RPSB for being aligned with the intention of Buhay Ingatan, Droga’y Ayawan Program (BIDA) that aims to bring sustainable development in the community so the people will not resort to illegal drug activities. He highlighted the significant achievements of RPSB in Putatan that synergizes with the department’s BIDA, which targets the reduction of both drug demand and supply.

Abalos is confident that the implementation of the RPSB program could greatly help the government in winning the trust of the people and bring it closer to the people.

During the presentation, RPSB team members assigned in Putatan were warmly welcomed by the residents who showed their appreciation for their services and genuine concern for their welfare.

Dahil sa magandang pagpapatupad ng RPSB dito sa inyong lugar, bumaba ang krimen, ang droga halos kumalahati (Because of good RPSB implementation here in your locality, crime, drugs incidents were cut to halves.),” Abalos says.

Muntinlupa Mayor Rozanno Rufino Biazon also shared the positive image of an RPSB police officer.

Ang ating RPSB ay bumaba sa ating komunidad ngunit hindi baril o posas ang dala nila kundi tulong na kinakailangan ng ating komunidad. Binago ng RPSB ang old figure ng PNP na dati ay kinatatakutan. Sila pala ay dapat nilalapitan, niyayakap dahil sila ang tumutulong sa atin, (Police go down the community but instead of carrying a gun and a handcuff, they bring help needed by the community. RSPB changed the old figure of PNP as being feared. They should actually be approached, embraced because they help us.)” Biazon says.

The mayor thanked Abalos and Okubo for their visit, as he urged his constituents to support RPSB which is aligned with the Kapayapaan and Kaayusan components of the 7K agenda of the city government.