MANILA - Barangay officials have captured a man suspected of having robbed some houses on K-First in Kamuning, Quezon City.
Based on barangay records, there are two robbery cases reported in the neighborhood only for July.
"Sana po may mga pulis na rumoronda...para matakot yung may mga balak magnakaw," said Barangay Kamuning desk officer Ruben Gatmaitan.
This year, in the news were different types of crimes being committed almost every night--robberies, car thefts, murders, including the killing of high-profile individuals, among them media workers.
This has bothered the Volunteers Against Crime and Corruption (VACC).
"This is the worst in terms of crime. Halos everyday there is some random killing," said VACC chairman Dante Jimenez. "Ang crime prevention ay lousy."
He said police couldn't really sustain a long-term anti-crime drive.
"Pag na-media, may visibility," Jimenez said. "Parang kulang ng motivation ang pulis natin to solve crimes."
'RIDING IN TANDEM'
In the last few years, a new set of criminals have roamed the streets. They are called "riding in tandem" because they come in pairs riding a motorbike. They use the bike in stealing or shooting down anybody.
According to Human Rights Watch (HRW), the government seems helpless in stopping these criminals.
"Lagi kasing lumalabas, parang kriminal lang iyan, random acts pero parang may pattern," said HRW's Carlos Conde. "Every major city in the Philippines, most likely may riding in tandem killing. Napaka-brutal, walang nahuhuli."
Based on Philippine National Police (PNP) records, crime cases rose by almost 18 percent throughout the country from January to May this year.
All are called index crimes, or commonly committed crimes.
Index crimes from January until May 2014, compared to 2013:
Murder: 412 from 296
Homicide: 400 from 386
Physical Injury: 8,455 from 7,597
Rape: 450 from 369
Robbery: 5,189 from 4,510
Theft: 9,170 from 7,109
Carjacking/car theft: 1,278 from 985
Four hundred cases of murder, 400 cases of homicide, more than 8,000 cases of physical injuries, 500 incidents of rape.
More than 5,000 incidents of robbery, 9,000 cases of simple theft, and more than 1,000 cases of car thefts.
In Metro Manila, the highest number of index crimes was recorded in the Southern Police District, followed by the Quezon City and Manila police districts.
But the PNP insists the level of crimes is not really rising in the country -- just the incidence of reporting.
"Wala pong worsening crime situation sa country," said police Chief Supt. Reuben Theodore Sindac. "Nag-iba kami ng paraan ng pagre-report."
Some 90 regional directors and police chiefs have been relieved allegedly for manipulation of crime reports.
In curbing rising criminality, people have begun to ask: what has the PNP been doing to address it?
The PNP said it has increased police visibility.
The question is: are there enough policemen to do it?
The PNP admits it is severely undermanned.
There are 148,000 policemen to safeguard almost 100 million Filipinos. In other words, one policeman per 700 Pinoys when the ideal ratio is one per 500.
In last year's SONA, the president said the pnp would utilize its civilian and office personnel to augment the police force.
"Sa kapulisan naman po, ang layunin nating magbigay ng lakas upang magampanan nila ang kanilang tungkulin: natupad rin natin. Simula ngayong 2013, 30,000 sa mga pulis ang babalik sa pagpupulis, dahil kukuha tayo ng mga civilian personnel para gawin ang mga tungkuling administratibo. Sayang naman po ang kakayahan at abilidad ng ating mga kawal at pulis kung ikukulong lamang natin sila sa apat na sulok ng opisina," Aquino said.
According to the PNP, this has yet to be fully implemented.
The PNP is still trying to recruit some 15,000 new non-uniformed personnel to replace policemen assigned to police offices, enabling the PNP to increase the number of patrols and boost police presence.
"Hindi pa namin napupunan ang pangangailangan," Sindac said.
The President also promised to fully arm the policemen.
The PNP has taken delivery of more than 20,000 Glock pistols for its frontline units.
"Sa pagpasok rin po ng buwang ito, inumpisahan nang ipamahagi ang mga bagong unit ng 9mm Glock 17 pistols sa ating mga pulis. Simula pa lang po ito; kasado na rin ang pamamahagi ng kabuuang 74,879 na baril sa ating mga alagad ng batas, tungo sa katuparan ng mithiin nating one-is-to-one police-to-pistol ratio," Aquino said in his SONA in 2013.
For Senator Grace Poe, chairman of the Senate Committee on Public Order and Dangerous Drugs, the government needs to address not just the shortage of policemen and anti-crime gadgets.
"Hindi lang sa pagdadagdag ng pulis ang iitindihin din natin, kung papaano natin sila aalagaan," she said. "Dagdag ka nga ng dagdag, kulang naman ang training nila. Kulang din ang gamit nila, kulang ang pag-maintain ng kanilang headquarters. Nasaan naman ang dignidad nun? Kaya sa tingin ko, lahat niyan ay kailangan nating talakayin."
But at the moment, residents are devising ways to keep them out of harm's way.
In Barangay Dose in Caloocan, barangay tanods conduct foot patrol each night.
They know they are the frontliners and they do as much as they can.
While on patrol, barangay tanods check on everybody to keep the peace -- break up drinking sessions, confiscate gambling materials, and marshal teenagers home for breaking curfew -- armed only with sticks and flashlights.