• MILITARY, POLICE BOOST CIVIL RELATIONS DRIVE

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    THE Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) and the Philippine National Police (PNP) have formed a committee that will coordinate and synchronize the military’s civil-military operations and the police’s community relations.

    Top AFP and PNP officials signed over the weekend a letter directive creating the Joint AFP-PNP Civil Relations Committee (JAPCRC) that is expected to better implement peace and development programs particularly in conflict-affected communities.

    The committee, officials said, was patterned after the existing Joint AFP-PNP Intelligence Committee and will support the proposed Revised National Joint Peace and Security Coordinating Center Organization.

    “This serves as a venue for us to strengthen mechanisms for the integration and collaboration of our efforts for joint civil relations operations, with the end view of realizing the Filipino’s aspirations for peace, security, stability and progress,” according to Chief Supt. Noel Constantino, acting PNP Director for Police Community Relations.

    The JAPCRC aims to ensure efficient, responsive and coordinated civil relations efforts in support of national security and development objectives.

    It will also recommend areas where the AFP or the PNP shall take the lead or play a supporting role in the conduct of joint civil relations activities.

    Another function of the committee is to coordinate the civil relations aspects of all AFP-PNP law enforcement, internal security and counter-terrorism efforts.

    Functions of the committee will be replicated at the area, regional and provincial levels.

    Among the activities to be conducted under the joint effort are strategic crisis communications; creation of joint quick response teams during emergencies; conduct of joint training activities, medical, dental, veterinary and engineering civic action projects; and joint humanitarian civic assistance.

    Gen. Eduardo Año, AFP chief of staff, said public support and good community relations are crucial to successful performance of military and police functions.

    The AFP and the PNP, he added, acknowledge this and have long sought the support and assistance of the civilian populace in the performance of their different but inter-related mandates.

    “It is imperative that the AFP and PNP work closely and support each other in addressing all threats to national peace and security and, at the same time, it is necessary for both organizations to maintain their legitimacy among the people they serve,” Año pointed out.

    “Through the creation of the JAPCRC, we hope to further establish a stronger and more active relationship with our people and stakeholders in building a better and peaceful nation,” he said.

    FERNAN MARASIGAN

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