MANILA, Philippines — While scalawags remain in its ranks, there have been some bright spots in the Philippine National Police’s campaign to flush out terrorists and collar criminals, President Aquino said Tuesday.
Speaking at the Police Service anniversary in Camp Crame, the President also announced the release of more than P2 billion out of the P9 billion modernization fund for the PNP.
The President singled out Police Regional Office 9 in Zambonaga for tracking down five Abu Sayyaf bandits, seizing their arms, and rescuing Chinese kidnap victim, Yuan Kai Lin.
The President also praised the Lanao del Sur Special Operations Task Group for overseeing the conduct of May elections in the province, which was notorious for electoral fraud.
Aquino also recognized Police Officer 2 Webster Odulio Liwag and his group that cornered Ryan Dominguez of the so-called Dominguez carnapping group in Malolos, Bulacan in May last year, supposedly rejecting the offer of a P3-million bribe in exchange for the suspect’s freedom.
And just last week, the police’s Anti-Illegal Drugs Special Operations Task Force seized some 432 kilos of shabu worth P2 billion in Subic, Zambales, he said.
“To all the individuals we’re honoring today, including the thousands of policemen who are true to their duty, the entire Filipino nation salute you. You are proof that our uniformed ranks never run out of good examples. Thank you for contributing to the transformation that we’re experiencing,” he said.
The president’s tribute came on the heels of the rash of bombings in Mindanao that killed at least 16 persons which the authorities blamed on groups out to derail peace talks with Moro rebels.
Aquino earlier recognized Police Officer 3 Edlyn Arbo, Police Officer 3 Felipe Moncatar and Police Officer 2 Dondon Sultan for chasing and subduing criminals at great risk to their safety in his July 22 State of the Nation Address.
In Camp Crame, the President acknowledged Local Government Secretary Manuel Roxas II, who he said has been put in charge of cleaning up the police ranks of scalawags.
“I’m sure that those who continue to tarnish the honor of the police – those who break the law instead of being men of the law — are very worried,” he said. “We’re very much aware of the need to purge scalawags from your ranks.”
Aquino said the wrongdoing of a few is being paid at a stiff price by the institution.
“Since we’re here together, my challenge to you: Let’s help one another in raising the dignity and quality of service of the PNP,” he said.
Toward the end of his speech, the President mentioned the release of the first tranche of the modernization fund amounting to more than P2 billion.
“That will go to the ‘move, shoot and communicate’ or boosting your capability. The State will take care of you,” he said.
In a briefing, Palace spokeswoman Abigail Valte said the P2.86 billion would cover the hiring of 7,439 non-uniformed personnel, the procurement of 1,000 patrol jeeps, 13,597 long firearms and 4,997 mobile radios, among others.
So far, 37,578 units of Glock 17 9-mm pistols have been handed over to policemen out of the 74,879 units recently purchased by the government, Aquino said.
And as part of the PNP’s operational transformation plan, Aquino said, the PNP is hiring 30,000 non-uniformed personnel in the next two years to do the job of 30,000 policemen doing administrative work so the latter could be deployed in the streets to achieve the ideal ratio of 1 policeman per 500 people.