Learning from outstanding women cops
Amid allegations of corruption by law enforcers who have sworn to protect us, several police officers remain dedicated to their mission. And even manage to do nonpolice work.
Take police officer Rina de la Cruz Salaya of the Police Community Relations, Human Rights and Barangay Peacekeeping Action Team in the Maasin Municipal Police Station in Iloilo.
For seven years she has not only arrested suspects, but also helped educate the community.
Under the project “Pulis Ko, Titser Ko,” Salaya, who has a Bachelor of Arts in Political Science degree from West Visayas State University, teaches kids about patriotism and their rights and responsibilities.
She also conducts classes in reading and mathematics for slow learners. Members of the community contribute school supplies for the program.
Salaya also encourages fellow officers to volunteer for the Department of Education’s Adopt a School program when off duty by helping renovate school buildings damaged by typhoons. In the spirit of bayanihan, the community also helps in the renovation.
Salaya conducted livelihood training, under the Barangay Yaman program, for out-of-school youths to keep them away from gambling. Through recreational and income-generating activities, young people have turned away from petty crimes. Since 2006, the municipality has been declared “gambling-free” by the mayor, the parish priest and a civic group.
Champions of women, child rights
Police Chief Inspector Delia Jacob Ingalla is chief of the Women and Children Protection Desk of the Taguig City Police Station, and senior police officer Helen Lapay de la Cruz works at a similar desk for the National Capital Region’s Criminal Investigation and Detection Group.
On the job for 27 and 13 years, respectively, Ingalla and De la Cruz investigate cases of abuse. In the last two years alone, under Ingalla’s watch, 35 suspected abusers were jailed, 30 victims of trafficking were rescued, with little or no cost to their families.
Like in the movies
De la Cruz lives a life that movies are made of. With a bachelor’s degree in secondary education from Holy Cross of Davao College and a bachelor in law degree from Jose Rizal University, she could have been a teacher or a lawyer.
But it was through her third degree, Bachelor of Science in Criminology from the University of La Salette, that De la Cruz found her calling.
Posing as a buyer during a buy-bust operation in a Makati hotel, De la Cruz helped arrest a suspect accused of counterfeiting United States treasury notes.
As an intelligence operative, De la Cruz helped dismantle clandestine shabu labs in Bulacan and Bataan, with equipment amounting to P13 billion; and helped in the seizure of fake Nokia, Hewlett-Packard, Lacoste and Havaianas products in various stores in Metro Manila. She also helped stop a pyramid scam.
Five days after the Department of Interior and Local Government ordered an investigation, De la Cruz filed a case against two suspects who allegedly raped a South African national inside a San Juan police station, a record-breaking feat that earned praise from the South African Embassy.
De la Cruz also worked with students, who complained about a suspect posing as a doctor working with the Philippine Regulatory Commission (PRC) and was swindling nursing board examinees. The arrest saved other examinees from being victimized, and made the PRC more vigilant against poseurs.
Prevention is best
Ingalla, who has a degree in criminology from the University of Northeastern Philippines, launched “Oplan Nightbirds” that enjoined public safety officers to conduct night patrol in different barangays, especially crime-prone areas. As a result of the campaign, the number of crimes dropped from 980 in 2006 to 723 just a year later.
Knowing that crime can best be prevented by responsible citizens, Ingalla empowered the community through seminars called “Ugnayan ng Pulisya at Mamamayan.”
Bantay Bayan personnel were briefed on crime prevention, while students were taught how to stay safe. As a result, authorities received more reports on suspected criminals and their activities.
Ingalla’s legacy is best summed up by lectures bearing her name in the area closest to her heart: DELIA: Dare to make a difference; Education is the key to end violence against women and children; Liberate abused women, children and families from the bondage of violence; Idealism and Inspiration are needed, plus Acceptance and Acknowledgement.
Through her DELIA seminars, the people of Taguig are now much more conscious of what is happening around them and, consequently, a lot safer.
For their exemplary service, these three women cops, together with five male colleagues, were honored as the Country’s Outstanding Policemen (COPS) by Metrobank Foundation in August. May their tribe increase.
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