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Bacolod City, Philippines Wednesday, August 31, 2016
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TIGHT ROPE
WITH MODESTO P. SA-ONOY

City reserve force

Tightrope

Last August 24 the Bacolod City Sanggunian approved a resolution urging the mayor “to respond to the call to military and civil service pursuant to R.A. 7077 or the AFP Reservist Act of 1991.”

The resolution authored by Councilors Sonya Verdeflor and Bart Orola “directed the city to provide a reserve force from Bacolod City that will be organized, trained and developed and maintained to ensure readiness to immediately respond to the call for service.”

It did not specify what kind of situation will necessitate the “call for service” but from the way the resolution is worded, it is an open situation and a reserve force must be on hand to respond quickly to whatever that is. It also did not define what this city reserve force is, who will compose and control the organization, what kind of training it will undergo, what skills and competencies it will develop and what financial sources will be set aside for their maintenance.

Did they study the law enough? I presumed so because they lifted sentences from it and even used it as basis for its organization and deployment.

However, did they realize the implications or is this another knee-jerk resolution like the resolution directing the CLO to demolish illegal structures when there is already a law on this that is just waiting for implementation?

The City Reserve Force resolution arrogates to the city and the mayor the power that belongs only to the President of the Republic who cannot mobilize the reserve force without the act of Congress in the event of imminent danger to the nation like rebellion, invasion or insurrection.

The organization of a reserve force under this law is the duty of the President and exercised through the Secretary of National Defense who has to direct the Armed Forces of the Philippines to do what the city council directs the mayor to do – organize a reserve force, equip, train and maintain it.
The resolution recognizes that the State shall maintain this reserve force but the reservists organized under this law belong to the AFP, particularly the Reserve Command depending which branch of military service the reservists belong. Never had I seen in this law the power of the local government to organize a reserve force because there is only one Armed Forces of the Philippines in this country and the reservists of whatever branch belong to the AFP.

The SP authorizes the City Mayor to form such a group. May we ask the SP to cite which provision of the Local Government Code grants them and him that power? He does not even have the power to organize a police force much less a Reserve Force that can respond to emergencies to “safeguard the security of the state”.

The only authority of the mayor relative to the deployment (but not organization) of the reserve is to ask for their assistance from the national government, passing through the proper channels. But it is the President who mobilizes them and the AFP deploys the Reserve Force to meet contingencies.

A Reserve Force is necessarily armed and organized in squads, platoons, companies all the way to divisions. Is the city planning to cede from the Republic that it will have to organize its own reserve force?

Imagine if all local governments organize their own Reserve Force controlled by the mayor. We will create petty states and despots for only a state has the power to organize, train and maintain such a force.

Is the SP planning for a revolution, preparing for a Chinese invasion, or anticipating the inflow of the NPA? Have they considered the cost of organizing, training, equipping, cantonment and maintaining even a battalion-size reserve force?

The SP's intentions might be laudable but why create a reserve force outside of the ambit of the AFP?

The SP should make clear this resolution. It is scary to say the least because it has no perceptible legal basis for such a reserved force. If the city cannot field traffic enforcers, how can it maintain a reserve force?

Somebody in the SP must have undergone ROTC or basic military training in high school and there are lawyers there. Councilor Orola whose VMA trains reservists for the navy ought to know what a reserve force is. Is this misreading of the law?

There are other things to do. The city's problems are piling up and need immediate action.*

           

 

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