Dawn of the nosy neighbour: Police want civilian spies in every village

civilian spies
The project has been dubbed a “Community Mobilisation Project” – but is it just a charter for curtain-twitching busybodies?

A regional police force is building a network of civilian spies to target suspected criminals, rebels and “unfamiliar faces”.

Called the “Community Mobilisaton Project” (CMP) the scheme is being introduced in the region of Calabarzon, which includes Cavite, Laguna, Batangas, Rizal and Quezon.

The has drawn comparism to the anticommunist Alsa Masa (Masses Arise) movement that was founded in Davao City in the 1980s. However, the group, and others like it, soon became linked to human rights abuses and corruption.

Manuel Gotis, regional director of the Department of the Interior and Local Government (DILG), said the Calabarzon police’s CMP would complement the national government’s “Masa Masid (Mamamayang Ayaw sa Anomalya, Mamamayang Ayaw sa Ilegal na Droga)” project, which encourages volunteers to become government spies in the war on crimes, drugs and rebels.

Civilian spies in every village

Calabarzon police chief, Chief Superintendent Ma O Aplasca, said the CMP sought to organise into “small clusters” from 10 to 20 households in every village.

Each cluster would select a leader who would transmit intelligence information to village chiefs or the local police.

He said the intelligence reports would be about suspected criminals, drug suspects and “unfamiliar faces”. In Quezon province, the emphasis would be on communist rebels, who continue to operate in the area.

Chf. Supt. Aplasca said the ideal result of CMP would be the emergence of tightly-knit communities where neighbours each others’ backs. He added that this was a Filipino characteristic that had been largely lost due to rapid urban growth.

Volunteers in the scheme will be given training on patriotism, values formation and building stronger family ties. However, there is no indication they will be taught any intelligence gathering skills. They will not be armed.

The Calabarzon region has a population of over 14 million in 4,018 villages. Police-to-civilian ratio is currently one policeman per 1,200 people.