MANILA, Philippines—Interior Secretary Mar Roxas on Monday exhorted the Philippine National Police to exert all efforts in insuring the success of the peace process in Mindanao.
Speaking at the PNP headquarters in Camp Crame, Quezon City, on the occasion of PNP’s 111th anniversary, Roxas said the police force as well as the national and local governments definitely play an important role in the success of the Mindanao peace deal.
The government announced on Sunday the forging of a framework agreement between the government and the Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF) that promises to bring an end to the decades-long armed conflict in the region.
Roxas noted that PNP’s anniversary was being held one day after the historic agreement was forged, thus further stressing the pivotal role the PNP will assume to ensure that the peace deal works.
“Walang duda na tayo sa local government side at mas higit pa sa PNP side who will be playing vital and pivotal roles in the success of this peace process,” Roxas said.
He reiterated PNP’s paramount responsibility of serving and protecting the public and added that this task would enable Filipinos to enjoy freedom from fear—fear from violence, crime and oppression.
Roxas said that among the challenges the government and the PNP face today is the rising criminality in the country—he cited the 57-percent increase in crime incidents in Metro Manila in June alone–and the long-term problems in illegal drugs, logging and jueteng.
Roxas also cited PNP’s role in the upcoming elections, particularly in mitigating election-related violence. He also reminded policemen not to allow themselves to be bribed by political candidates who want to buy their support.
“Paparating na ang eleksyon, at batid ang hamon na dala nito sa ating kapulisan. Magsisilbi itong malaking pagsubok hindi lamang dahil sa maaaring magsulputan ang election-related violence na kelangan nating tugunan. Susukatin din ang tibay ng ating prinsipyo. Kung abutan ng sobre para pumanig sa isang kandidato, tatanggapin ba ito o mananatili ba tayo sa tuwid na landas ng tapang, propesyonalismo at sinumpaang tungkulin bilang isang pulis (The election is coming and we know the challenges it will bring to the policemen. This will serve as a big test not only in their capacity to respond to election-related violence but also on their moral principles. If offered a bribe by a candidate, should they accept this or stay within the straight path of courage, professionalism, and the service oath they took)?” Roxas said, but added that he expects that the PNP will choose to follow the straight path of the government.
He also urged all policemen to initiate the cleaning of their ranks by reporting anomalies to their superiors, or to him, for immediate resolution.
“At kung natatakot kayo, huwag kayong mag-atubiling lumapit sa akin. Ako mismo ang mag iimbestiga, ako mismo ang mag reresolba, at kung makita kong nagkasala, ako mismo ang magsasampa ng kaso (If you’re scared, don’t hesitate to come to me. I will personally investigate, resolve, and if I find who is culpable, I will personally file the case against him),” Roxas said.