Department of the Interior and Local Government (DILG) Chief Eduardo M. Año calls on punong barangays to ensure that no tanod under their supervision uses firearms even in the performance of their duties.
Año reminded all barangays that tanods or community brigades composed of civilian volunteers appointed by the punong barangay upon recommendation of the Barangay
Peace and Order Council are not allowed by any law to carry firearms even in maintaining peace and order in their communities.
“Bilang kayong mga punong barangay ang pumili, nagtalaga, at nangangasiwa ng inyong mga tanod, kayo rin ang may pananagutan sa paraan ng pagsasagawa ng katungkulan ng inyong mga tanod,” he says.
Año said that tanods may only use nightstick with teargas (probaton) with belt and holster, handcuff with holster, whistle, flashlight, raincoat, rain boots, small notebooks and ball pens, first aid kits, and other non-lethal gadgets.
“Bagaman mahalaga ang papel ng mga tanod sa pagtulong sa pagbabantay at pagpapanatili ng kaayusan at seguridad sa mga komunidad, kailangan pa rin pong
linawin at ipaalala na hindi sila otorisadong magdala at gumamit ng baril kahit pa ang armas ay personal nilang kagamitan at kahit pa mayroon silang permit to carry outside their residence,” he adds.
“If our barangay tanods see themselves in a potentially dangerous situation, they should seek the help of their local police officers. That’s the job of the police,” he said.
The DILG chief explained that Republic Act (RA) No. 10591 known as Comprehensive Firearms and Ammunition Regulation Act enacted in 2012 has revoked the authority of police auxiliary units’ members such as tanods to carry firearms, which was previously allowed by Circular No. 2008-013 of the National Police Commission. “There is no longer any legal basis for arming barangay tanods,” said Año.
The DILG chief called on all local chief executives to ensure compliance with this directive and to withdraw any firearm that has been issued by them to barangay tanods.
He stressed that registered firearms of local government units (LGUs) shall only be issued to a government official or employee with a permanent plantilla position as provided in Section 5.5.2 of the Implementing Rules and Regulations of RA 10591.
Punong barangays, on the other hand, are entitled to possess and carry firearms within their territorial jurisdiction, subject to appropriate rules and regulations, as stated in Section 389 (c) of the Local Government Code but only in the performance of their peace and order functions. (PR)