EU vows support for project turning cops into community leaders
Jovan Cerda (philstar.com) - December 4, 2015 - 8:28pm

PUERTO PRINCESA CITY, Philippines - The European Union (EU) on Friday renewed its commitment to support a project of the National Police Commission (NAPOLCOM) aimed at transforming cops into community leaders that strengthen the local government's capability.

EU Ambassador Franz Jessen met with Puerto Princesa Mayor Lucilo Bayron, NAPOLCOM Commissioner Constancia de Guzman and other local officials in Puerto Princesa City, Palawan to discuss the progress of NAPOLCOM's Community and Service-Oriented Policing (CSOP) project, supported by the EU-Philippines Justice Support Program (EPJUST II).

"CSOP is the backbone of crime prevention and solution, and the maintenance of peace and order in the country," de Guzman said.

Under CSOP, cops work with barangay leaders and local executives in the municipality to address community problems that are not just exclusive to crime.

De Guzman said that under CSOP, the Philippine National Police (PNP) is empowered to fulfill its role as community leaders in different local government units. It could be as simple as relaying information on the garbage situation in a barangay, or reporting burst water pipes in a community, de Guzman said.

"CSOP does not remove from the police their law-enforcement functions," she said. 

The EPJUST II-supported community policing project is currently being piloted in Barangays San Pedro, Tiniguiban and Santa Lourdes in Puerto Princesa City, where problems include drugs, property theft and juvenile delinquency.

"It's a pilot program. If it works well, you will be known in the other parts of the Philippines because it will be replicated," Jessen told policemen in a visit to the Puerto Princesa City Police Office.

CSOP, launched in June 15, 2015, is supported by the EU's EPJUST II, which aims to promote equitable access to justice for the poor and the disadvantaged.

EPJUST II builds on two earlier EU projects which have so far provided 1.3 million euros worth of IT equipment, computers and servers to local governments which helped in gathering data about a specific barangay. The project also coordinates with the NAPOLCOM and the PNP in ensuring effective implementation of the CSOP.

Bayron said the support from EU is a "look from the outside" and is beneficial in teaching the local government unit how to address crimes.

"If (the pilot testing) is perfected, it wouldn't be that hard to replicate this in other barangays," the mayor said.

AMBASSADOR FRANZ JESSEN BARANGAYS SAN PEDRO COMMISSIONER CONSTANCIA COMMUNITY AND SERVICE-ORIENTED POLICING CSOP DE GUZMAN EUROPEAN UNION GUZMAN NATIONAL POLICE COMMISSION PUERTO PRINCESA CITY QUOT
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