AKO Bicol files bill creating civilian PSG

BATOCABE

LEGAZPI CITY — Ako Bikol partylist (AKB) has filed House Bill No. 3198 seeking to convert the Presidential Security Group (PSG) into a highly professional civilian security organization, which will be known as the Government Protection and Security Service (GPSS).

AKB Rep. Rodel M. Batocabe explained that in the bill, the GPSS will be created under the control and direction of the Office of the President and no longer as a military unit of the Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP).

Currently, the PSG is a unit of the Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) with headquarters in  Malacañang Palace although police personnel and operators from the PNP Special Weapons and Tactics and Special Action Force are also assigned in the PSG.

Batocabe said that AKB saw the need to pass the bill in response to the unpopular perception that PSG posts are perceived to be the most sought-after assignment as they are closest to the seat of power – the presidency.

Military and police officers and personnel are designated to the PSGl which serves as a spring board for their professional careers. It is also alleged that military or police personnel assigned to the PSG are politicized as they are promised high-ranking positions in the AFP or PNP and stay beholden to officials they have served.

To date, there had been at least three  PSG commanders who had become AFP Chief-of-Staff or assigned to other high-ranking posts.  They are perceived, rightly or wrongly, to have been appointed because of their closeness to the President.

Batocabe believed that “this perception should be eradicated as it demoralizes the members of the armed forces and weakens the public’s confidence in its military.”

“The creation of an institutionalized civilian agency, independent from the AFP or PNP, ensures that the protective role of the agency, that is, ensuring the safety of national leaders, their families, the Malacañang Palace, and foreign visitors, shall be upheld and given utmost priority,” he stated.

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