CEBU CITY, PHILIPPINES- Cebu City Mayor Edgardo Labella immediately made a difference to the Cebu City Police Office (CCPO). While his predecessor, ex-Mayor Tomas Osmena, threatened of pulling out the support to them, he assured them of utmost support from the city government. Labella had a command conference with Cebu City Police Director Gemma Vinluan and the police station chiefs and key officers of CCPO today (July 15) where Vinluan briefed him (through a CCPO assigned police official briefer) of the city’s peace and order situation and the plans and programs of the city police where Labella responded by assuring them of support almost right away.
Vinluan told Labella of the plan to install CCTV cameras around the Camp Sotero Cabahug to which Labella readily committed, the procurement of high-tech cellphone jammer for the Cebu City jail, purchase of firearms, vehicles and a P5 million budget for the completion of the CCPO firing range. “Can we have the specs, we have the available budget for that. Submit to the city administrator, if you are just asking for 5 million we are ready, we have available funds, five million for the firing range,” Labella told Vinluan and her men. The procurement of the cellphone jammers is aimed at neutralizing the drug groups inside the Cebu City Jail whom Vinluan revealed is still much involved in the illegal drug trade in the city.
Drug group members continue to transact with drug peddlers outside of the jail through cellphones which Vinluan wanted to be stopped by using the jamming machines so that the communication through phones will not happen. Apart from the equipment and funding, Labella also committed that the policemen will have monthly rice subsidy apart from eyeing of increasing their monthly allowance. Labella, however, warned that he will not tolerate “corruption” giving warning to those who would defy his order. “But of course I have to remind us, to remind you, that as I’ve said in terms of style, we can be flexible, we can be charitable, but in terms of principle, we should be hard as a rock.
We should be firm in the fight against criminality and also the fight against corruption, even in our own ranks. I have to be very clear about this, especially here in the city of Cebu.” The City Mayor also had a solution on the lacking number of policemen in the city which results to 1 is to 856 policeman/population ratio which is far from the ideal 1 is to 500 by saying that the city government will tap the multiplier forces especially the barangay tanod by training them. The Mayor also gave right there in the meeting at the city hall thirty (30) brand new bulletproof vests and helmets for the SWAT Team as he also aired his support to Vinluan on the plan to organize an all-women SWAT Team.
To answer the clamor of the mountain barangays folks to put up a police station in their area, Labella also approved it apart from constructing another one in the urban barangay. The stalled Pardo police station in Inayawan will already be constructed and the Carbon precinct will be improved. Labella who also introduced to the police officers, Councilor Philip Zapra, the Chairman on the Committee on Police, Fire, and Penology as the point-man on police matters said that under his leadership, the city government will work closely with the Cebu City Police Office. “We are looking forward to a very healthy relationship, if there are any problems feel free Colonel (Vinluan) to see me.
Let us have a good working relationship, for the city government and the police for this fight against criminality.” To Philip Zafra, Mayor Labella had this to say, “He will be like a big brother to the police offices feel free to approach him. Philip Zafra is very approachable, he is a consummate public official.” Vinluan just replaced Col.Royina Garma last week as the former CCPO city director was appointed by Pres. Rodrigo Duterte the Gen. Manager of the Phil. Charity Sweepstakes Office (PCSO). Garma and then-Mayor Osmena had been at odds with each other prompting Osmena to made a threat that the city government will discontinue their support to the CCPO.