Department of the Interior and Local Government (DILG) Chief Eduardo M. Ano calls on Punong Barangays to ensure that no tanod under their supervision uses firearms even in the performance of their duties.
Ano 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.
Ano said that tanods may only use nightstick with teargas (probaton) with belt and holster, handcuff with holster, whistle, flashlight, raincoat, rainboots, small notebooks and ballpens, 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 Ano.
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.
“Ang mga tanod ay hindi po permanenteng mga manggagawa ng gobyerno kaya hindi sila maaaring gumamit ng armas maging iyong mga nakarehistrong baril ng LGU,” he says.
“Ayaw na po nating may mapabalita pang tanod na sangkot sa paggamit ng baril kahit pa ikatwirang dahil ito sa kanyang pagganap ng kanyang trabaho sa barangay peace and order. Gawin po natin ang ating trabaho ng hindi lumalabag sa batas,” Ano warns.
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.
Meanwhile, DILG Spokesperson ASec. Jonathan E. Malaya reminds the public that among the indications of a good punong barangay ‘worth voting for’ in the upcoming barangay elections are those knowledgeable of the powers and functions as well as limitations of barangay workers such as tanods.
“Unang-una, nananawagan tayo sa publiko na bumuto sa darating na barangay elections. Pangalawa, piliiin po nilang mabuti ang ating mga ihahalal nang sa gayun ay maging maunlad at mapayapa ang kanilang komunidad na ligtas sa kapahamakan ng iligal na droga, kriminalidad, at korapsyon,” he said.
He said that the DILG will be coming up with a list of qualities of a good barangay official which will serve as a citizen’s guide in the forthcoming Barangay and Sangguniang Kabataan elections. He said that they will encourage the people to vote for a new set of Barangay officials who are "Matino, Mahusay at Maaasahan."