The title of this column is not connected in anyway nor does it involve state parties such as the Philippines or its partners in South East Asia who may yet unite together in conducting joint maritime patrols in the contested South China Sea. Nor does the title of this column have anything to do with what the superpowers such as China and the US are doing in conducting joint military drills with their allies around the globe.

No, the title of this column has to do more with the idea of uniting the Barangay police force (Tanods) coming from member barangays in a particular district to establish a plan and program of conducting joint patrols within their respective Barangay districts. This is not a new concept but merely a reintroduction of a novel policing system in the barangays, especially in the twenty barangay districts of the city to further decrease the waning crime rate in the locality and prevent criminality in the barangays.

The joint patrolling system in the barangay districts may start with consultative meetings initiated by the barangay district coordinator with his or her barangay members discussing the availability and capability of their current number of barangay tanods. After making a determination that all of the member barangays in a particular district have at the minimum two barangay tanods and one chief tanod they can now proceed to the second part of their joint patrolling system program by making an inventory of all the available equipment needed by their barangay tanods.

In an old Memorandum Circular issued by the Department of the Interior and Local Government
(DILG) way back in March of 2003 (Memorandum Circular No. 2003-42), the appointed barangay
tanod must have the following equipment: Nightstick with teargas (probation) with belt and
holster, handcuff with holster, whistle, flashlight, raincoat, rainboots, small notebooks and ballpens, and first aid kits.

To this equipment can be added, rattan sticks for those knowledgeable in the Filipino martial art of arnis, two way portable radios to facilitate communication, wifi-enabled tablets or cellphones with high definition cameras and videos to document incidents, and a suitable length of rope in case of emergencies. The memorandum likewise mentions the minimum requirement for a uniform to be
worn by the barangay tanod and this include maong pants, white t-shirts, vests with markings and name cloth, ball cap and rubber shoes.

The ID is likewise an integral part of the uniform and which must be worn openly to facilitate
identification. In terms of deployment the old DILG memorandum circular even makes mention of the barangay tanod being deployed outside of their area of responsibility (barangay) when there is a request for them to assist in other barangays subject to a written request transmitted to the concerned Punong Barangay. So as early as 2003 there is already the concept of cross border or
cross jurisdiction patrolling by barangay tanods.

After the personnel have been counted and the equipment inventoried, the district coordinator may then consult the respective peace and order councils and barangay peace and order advisory councils in his/her district to coordinate the placement, schedule, rotation, and patrol route to be
undertaken by the barangay tanod of the member barangays of the district. If there is a disproportionate number of barangay tanods in a particular district this can be addressed by organizing them into teams with an equal number of barangay tanods and deploying these teams proportionately with respect to the size and area of a certain member barangay.

If the barangay has a wider area to patrol then two or even three teams of barangay tanods can
conduct the joint patrol to facilitate completion. For the personnel of the Baguio City Police Office
assigned to the various police stations they can serve as supervisors during the joint patrols with one supervisor per barangay tanod team. The member barangays of the district shall likewise decide on the level of contribution that each member of the district will have to give to the program to sustain its implementation.

When this joint patrol system is already underway the district can also decide to include volunteers from the barangays coming from civil service organizations or other civic minded groups or
individuals to serve as force multipliers within their respective barangays and the barangay district as a whole. This joint patrolling system can be implemented right away after the BSK elections shall
have been concluded and the new barangay officials shall have taken their oath and appointed their barangay tanods.

Finally, the funding for this joint patrolling system can be sourced from the budgets of the member barangays, the local government, or from other sources such as sponsors from corporations under their corporate social responsibility. Having this joint patrolling system in the barangay district
will surely enhance the maintenance of peace and order in the locality.

Amianan Balita Ngayon