'President' Grace Poe to order surveys on peace and order situation

ZAMBOANGA CITY, Philippines – What's the first thing Grace Poe would do if she wins as president?

Poe on Friday, March 4, said the first thing on her agenda is to tap survey firms to conduct polls on the peace and order situation in the country.

It's about time, she said, that pollsters are tapped for services outside politics.

“Kaya sa mga barangay – sinabi ko na ito – 'pag ako naupo bilang pangulo, ang una kong gagawin para may silbi naman ang mga ibang survey companies, hindi lamang hunger o kaya politics ang kanilang sinu-survey, kundi pati peace and order,” Poe said in a press conference.

(I said this before – if I am elected president the first thing I will do, so we'll have some use for other survey companies, is to make them do peace and order surveys in the villages, so they don't just do surveys on hunger and politics.)

Most polling firms in the Philippines, in fact, conduct surveys on non-political issues throughout the year, but they become household words only during the election season.

Security concerns in Zamboanag City worsened after a Saudi Arabian preacher and diplomat were shot in the city on Tuesday, March 1.

In 2013, the city was at the center of a siege and month-long clashes between government forces and the Nur Misuari-led faction of the Moro National Liberal Front.

Poe said she would allot a room in Malacañang exclusively to monitor peace and order in the country.

“Kunin natin ang Pulse Asia. Gumawa kayo ng survey sa buong Pilipinas kung saan maraming droga, at doon sa Malacañang may isang kuwarto sa peace and order lamang na nakamarka ang mga barangay kung saan may problema,” she said.

The senator vowed there would be an improvement in the security situation in the country in just two months.

“Pangalawa, kung sino man ang police head doon sa mga lugar na 'yon ay mananagot sa atin kung hindi nagbago ang sitwasyon ng isa o dalawang buwan. Sa tingin ko magagawa natin 'yon,” Poe said.

The senator said she would discipline the Philippine National Police, as she promised to increase the budget for the agency.

“Alam ba ninyo na [sa] isang munisipyo ng pulis, isang presinto, kunwari 10 ang kanilang pulis doon, ang kanilang maintenance and other operating expenses sa ibang buwan ay P10,000? It’s P1,000 per police officer, kasama na doon ang pambayad ng tubig, ilaw, panglinis ng kanilang presinto, at gasolina ng kanilang patrol. Paano sila iikot kung ganoon lamang ang budget na kukunin nila? Paano sila magmomonitor? So kailangan dagdagan talaga ang budget para sa kanila,” she said. 

(Did you know that in the municipalities, one police precinct has, for example, 10 cops, and their maintenance and operating budget is P10,000 a month? That's P1,000 per police officer, and that is supposed to cover their water and electricity bills, janitorial services for the precinct, and gasoline for patrols. How can they go around if that's the budget they are getting? How will they monitor? So we really need to increase their budget.) 

Poe is not the first presidential candidate to promise ending crime in a few months. Rodrigo Duterte, who became popular for his peace and order program as mayor of Davao City, said he would end crime within 6 months if elected president.

Former human rights commissioner and justice secretary Leila de Lima, who is running for senator, said Duterte's timetable for curbing crime is "not feasible." – Rappler.com

Camille Elemia

Camille Elemia is a multimedia reporter focusing on media, technology, and disinformation.

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