It was unfamiliar territory for Philippine National Police (PNP) chief Director General Alan Purisima, who even had difficulty finding the “@” key.
The country’s top cop on Friday finally caught up with netizens with the launch of his Twitter account @AlanLPurisima in Camp Crame.
“What’s social media?” Purisima replied when reporters asked if it was his first foray into social networking. He had to be reminded that it also included the use of Facebook.
“Ah, Facebook! I had an account but it was fake,” he said, referring to a site put up by an impostor. The PNP immediately had it taken down.
As Crame reporters watched, Purisima received basic instructions from his lieutenants on how to tweet from a laptop. “I am willing to learn this.”
“Just look for the blue bird, sir,” a subordinate told him, referring to the Twitter icon that he needed to click. Another guided him to where “@” was.
Purisima was all smiles throughout the crash course. For his first tweet, he went sloganeering: “Serbisyong Makatotohanan Para Sa Bayan (Truthful service for the nation).”
He followed it up with an invite: “Follow me @AlanLPurisima.”
As of 4 p.m, the PNP chief had gained 221 followers, including one who sent a complaint about certain vehicles parked in front of a police station.
In a press conference, Purisima said he wanted the PNP to maximize the use of technology to improve its service to the public and immediately get feedback from the people.
“As the PNP chief, I also want to know (the people’s sentiments) on a personal and official level. Twitter can help me in the performance of this duty,” he said in Filipino.
His Twitter followers could send him any message they want, he said.
But Purisima also directed them to the PNP’s other Twitter account, @ireportangkrimen, where he said they can post complaints about the police force itself. The PNP’s public information office also has its own account, @pnppio.
Purisima said he would encourage all PNP commanders to have their own accounts as well, adding:
“Those who cannot go to the office and express their opinions can do so in the Twitter accounts. We should use technology to say what we want to say to our police, especially our commanders.”