Being a barangay tanod (village patrol) is no easy task, according to Carlos Gaquing.
These village patrols endure sleepless nights just to make sure residents in their area can be safe.
Gaquing is one of these village patrols in Butuan city. He said they continue to do their duty even when it is raining.
“Iyan lang umuulan minsan tapos nagko-conduct kami ng roving wala pang kapote, (Sometimes, we continue roving despite the rain. We don’t even have raincoats)” he adds.
These are the least of their worries. Village patrols also have to put their lives at risk to maintain peace and order.
Edgar Atienza has been working as a village patrol for only a year and he worries about the future of his family if something happens to him.
“Minsan may patalim kagaya ng itak. Iyong mag-riot, nagbabatuhan diyan, iyan ang isa naming problema, (Sometimes, they carry knives. They will start a riot or throw things. These are some of our problems),” he said.
Just recently, a city ordinance in Butuan City was approved. It aims to provide P120,000 insurance benefit for village patrols like Gaquing and Atienza.
According to Atty. Ehrnest John Sanchez, the P10,000 from their insurance will be used in case they sustained injuries.
“Iyang 10,000 diyan kung ma-injure sila. Ang P100,000 diyan in case of death, madisgrasya sila habang nagper-perform ng kanilang duty. Tapos kung sa panahon na ililibing sa panahon na halimbawa mamatay, may burial na P10,000 (The P10,000 will be in case they get injured. In case of death, or an accident while on duty, there’s the P100,000. The remaining P10,000 will be for the burial),” he said.
The local government aims to distribute other equipment for the patrols in 86 villages in the city.
There are currently 100,000 village patrols in Butuan city.—Aileen Cerrudo (with reports from Raymond Octobre)