What was originally intended as a morale booster has become a farewell letter to troops of the Philippine National Police urging them to take the straight path, or daang matuwid, outlined by the Commander in Chief.
“Gone are the days of secondhand helicopters and irregular repairs of V150s which led to the loss of millions of pesos that were supposed to improve the welfare of policemen,” said a letter written by Interior Secretary Jesse Robredo before he died in a tragic plane crash on August 18 off Masbate.
“We are stricter now because it is time for ordinary policemen to get the funds intended for them,” said the letter to P/Insp. Joie Lubrido Alcasarin, who was assigned in San Miguel, Zamboanga del Sur.
“You should have had more bullets, new uniforms and shoes, and vehicles if there was no corruption. You should have benefited from these funds which were really intended for you and your office.”
A copy of the letter in Filipino signed by Robredo under the Department of the Interior and Local Government (DILG) letterhead was sent by fax to the Philippine Daily Inquirer Wednesday.
PNP Director General Nicanor Bartolome told the Inquirer the letter was meant to be a template for a similar communication to each member of the 147,000-strong police force.
Bartolome said this was the first time a DILG secretary had attempted to write everyone in the PNP. “I don’t remember any letter like this. Before, the letters would just be addressed to the unit head.”
Bartolome said that Robredo wrote the letter template in March but the DILG was only able to begin distributing it “a few days” before Robredo died.
The letter to Alcasarin detailed reforms being implemented under the PNP Integrated Transformation Program.
“We are doing these because they don’t just jibe with the call of President Aquino for us to follow the ‘straight path,’ but also because the welfare of every ordinary policeman is important,” said Robredo, who gave his cellular phone number and the telephone landline of his office should Alcasarin have any concern or suggestions to make.
To lift up the morale of policemen, Robredo began his letter by personally thanking Alcasarin for his contribution in helping improve the public image of the PNP.
“According to the Social Weather Stations, almost seven out of 10 Filipinos trust the police. With your help, the number of crime incidents went down by 23 percent from 324,083 in 2010 to 248,378,” Robredo said. “As they say in English, ‘Good job.’”
Robredo said that even while the PNP budget did not increase from 2010 to 2011, the government was able to find funds so that policemen would get a total of P7,000 instead of just P3,000.
“This additional bonus will be received by policemen every year under the government of President Aquino,” he said.
Police station budget up
“We also increased the support for each police station by 35 percent, from P650 per police officer per month to P1,000 per police officer per month since September 2010,” he said. “This means that if 100 policemen are assigned in one station, its budget was increased from P65,000 to P100,000 each month.”
Robredo said that the new disbursement system in the PNP also led to funds going directly to their intended beneficiaries.
“It is now certain that the funds will be there for the gas of mobile patrol units, the repair of vehicles and offices, and other needs of ordinary policemen,” he said. “Policemen don’t need to follow up the budget of their station.”
Robredo said that the government was taking funds that were meant for “unfilled positions” in the PNP to provide additional clothing allowance for lawmen.
He said this meant 90,000 patrol boots and another 90,000 patrol shirts for the PNP.
“We are now purging ‘ghost pensioners’ and employees from the PNP… Millions and millions were lost every year because of these shenanigans,” he said.
Robredo said the DILG was also fixing the scholarship program and the promotion and recruitment system in the PNP to imbue a “culture of merit” in the entire police force. He said abusive policemen were also being weeded out.
“It is now time for the ‘Pulis Pinoy’ to become known for being honest and dependable. Let us not allow the good service being provided by many of our colleagues to be tarnished,” Robredo said.