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Aquino echoes ‘Heneral Luna,’ asks PNPA grads: Bayan o sarili?

/ 01:32 PM March 10, 2016
PNPA grad

Portraits of this this year’s Top 10 graduates of the Philippine National Police Academy line the road leading to the school grandstand where President Benigno Aquino III (inset) urged them on Thursday, March 10, 2016, to do what is right. JULLIANE LOVE DE JESUS / INQUIRER.NET

“Kung pinapili kayo: bayan o sarili, alin ang uunahin ninyo?”

(Given a choice between nation or self, which would you prioritize?)

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That was a question posed by President Benigno Aquino III to graduating cadets during commencement exercises at the Philippine National Police Academy (PNPA) in Silang, Cavite, on Thursday.

READ: Licensed nurse tops PNPA 2016 class; 5 barred from joining graduation rites | Binay at PNPA homecoming: No politics please

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The question echoed the words of the lead character in the movie “Heneral Luna,” played by actor John Arcilla, who said: “Negosyo o kalayaan? Bayan o sarili? Pumili ka!”

Secure the elections

Aquino explained that the upcoming elections is a time of temptation.

“Uulitin ko ang hamon ko sa bawat pagkakataong humaharap ako sa mga guma-graduate tulad ninyo: Kung abutan kayo ng sobre kapalit ng inyong dangal, magpapabili ba kayo? Kung may napangakong promotion kapalit ng inyong pananahimik, sa harap ng katiwalian o pang-aabuso, tatanggapin ba ninyo?” he said.

(I will repeat my challenge to graduates: If you will be given an envelope filled with money in exchange of your dignity, will you allow yourself to be bought? If you were promised a promotion in exchange of your silence in the face of anomaly and abuse, will you accept it?)

Aquino said he was confident that the cadets were trained well by the PNP to follow the straight path (daang matuwid).

“Sa mga darating na buwan, ang marching orders ninyo: Siguruhing ligtas, mapayapa, at tunay na sasalamin sa pasya ng ating mga Boss ang ating eleksyon,” he told the graduates.

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(In the coming months, your marching orders are: Ensure that the elections is safe, peaceful and reflects the real choice of our bosses.)

After showcasing his achievements for the uniformed personnel, Aquino urged the graduates to do what is right.

“Tiwala akong sa lahat ng pagkakataon, magsisilbi kayong mga tapat na lingkod-bayan; lagi kayong papanig sa tama at makatwiran; lagi ninyong paglilingkuran ang ating mga Boss, ang sambayanang Pilipino,” he said.

(I am confident that at all times, you will be honest public servants; you will always choose what is just and right; you will always serve our Bosses, the Filipino people.)

Reform agenda

The President reminded the graduating cadets that when they first entered the PNPA, there were still a lot of “horror stories” about the police force.

“Nariyan ang pagbili ng mga chopper sa presyong brand new, pero yun pala, secondhand lang. Mayroong mga bagong pulis na para lang magkabaril, kailangan pang bilhin ang rights ng mga nagreretiro,” he explained.

(These include the purchase of helicopters priced as brand new when they were actually second hand. There were also new policemen who, in order to get their own firearms, would have to pay for the rights of those retiring.)

Among the “victories” enumerated by Aquino were the purchase of 74,879 units of Glock 17 9mm pistols to raise the police-to-pistol ratio to 1:1. Also purchased were 1,490 patrol jeeps, 247 4×4 personnel careers, 69 light transport vehicles, 1,095 motorcycles and 12,494 handheld radios.

Meanwhile, the Bureau of Jail Management and Penology (BJMP) has received funds of up to P393 million, which was used to buy firearms, portable radio systems and prisoner vans.

The Bureau of Fire Protection, on the other hand, received a total of P4.46 billion under Aquino’s term. This was allocated for the purchase of fire trucks, protective gear and self-contained breathing apparatus.

The President recalled that when he was still a legislator, he learned that the lack of breathing apparatus forced firemen to just use water from their fire hoses to counter the thick smoke coming from burning structures.

Aquino also told the graduates about the Executive Order he signed providing for higher allowances.

It was the last time that Aquino would attend a PNPA graduation as president of the Philippines.

Before his speech, Aquino inspected the PNPA Cadet Corps and presented their diplomas and awards.

This year’s batch produced 253 graduates. Of the number, 215 will go to the PNP, 22 to the BJMP and 16 to the Bureau of Fire Protection.

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TAGS: bayan o sarili, Benigno Aquino III, BFP, BJMP, Cavite, Heneral Luna, news, PNP Academy, PNPA, Silang
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