Press Release
October 22, 2016

For the Recognition Rites of Class LakanDigong
Philippine Public Safety College - NPTI Camp
Vicente Lim, Brgy. Mayapa, Calamba City

A pleasant morning to our handsome men and beautiful women in uniform from Class LakanDigong, to your families, relatives, friends, and to the Philippine Public Safety College faculty and officials! Likewise, to all my brothers in uniform from Region 4-A and Camp Vicente Lim.

Let me begin by commending Class LakanDigong's hard-work and determination to finish this course. Pat yourselves on the back because from this day forward, you now carry a greater responsibility and more rigid principle that every police officer of the Philippine National Police adheres to. Congratulations!

Today on your recognition rites, I would like to challenge each member of Class LakanDigong to truly live up to your oath to serve and protect the Filipino people. This shall be a continuing challenge to each and every one - a challenge of sacrifice, a challenge to your comfort, and a challenge to your fortitude and self-respect.

We probably have the most empowered police force now under the leadership of President Rodrigo Duterte and PNP Chief Gen. Ronald 'Bato' Dela Rosa. It is because President Duterte, as former Davao City Mayor, understands what the nation has long been lacking - a strong and motivated police force who are not only esteemed by their colleagues, respected in communities, and feared by criminals, but also by themselves encouraged to serve and protect the nation, especially from the President's ongoing war against illegal drugs.

As a former local chief executive, I am also very much aware of the crucial role of policemen in law enforcement. Your very presence brings peace and stability in the neighborhood. This is the reason why I am in full support of the government's thrust to give premium to men and women in uniform, in order to motivate them to answer in their call of duty, and to develop a strong sense of partnership with locals.

Why are these important at the moment? It is because with the Duterte administration's anti-illegal drug war, policemen are frequently deployed to respond against drug lords and militia men equipped with high-powered firearms, eventually risking their lives at the forefront. This is very unfortunate for our ill-equipped policemen. It grieves me just to accept this saying, "nakabaon na ang isang paa sa hukay" whenever policemen are called in to report and die in the course of their duty. This is the reason why I personally endorsed to the Senate leadership the modernization of your equipage and the procurement of your mobility and communication assets. I have bias for the PNP all the time because I know how you feel.

I have also recently pushed for a higher budget for policemen and sought for an enhanced and combat-capable equipment for the use of the Philippine National Police. I likewise proposed to equip the PNP with modern surveillance equipment and air assets, which are very vital to your operations, aside from the support of the proposal to increase your pay and allowances.

It is just unimaginable and unacceptable that the PNP has no single flying air asset. Alam nating mayroon kayong iilang chopper, pero huwag na natin ipagamit sa PNP iyon dahil bumagsak na ang ilan kahit walang kaaway, at karamihan ay dapat i-retire at i-showcase na lamang sa Air Force museum.

The point is, we need refurbished, if not new, helicopters that would serve as eyes in the sky. If we can acquire one or two helicopters for the PNP, this would be very helpful in the war against illegal drugs, and also in boosting the morale of our men and women in uniform in their performance of duty to protect the people and fight against criminality.

With regard partnership with the locals, I believe the PNP and local government units should join hands in coming up with a continuous rehabilitation module for the thousands of drug surrenderees, like providing for cash-for-work programs.

This war on drugs really gives a chilling effect because it is the first in our history that thousands are surrendering to authorities. However, the challenge now is what are we going to do with them? Kaunting hithit lang niyan ng shabu o cocaine, babalik ang mga iyan sa dating bisyo. This may prove challenging, but I believe the PNP should get the commitment of LGUs and NGOs like MAD or Mamamayang Ayaw sa Droga, DARE, religious groups, and other concerned individuals in communities to this end.

Class LakanDigong, so much awaits for you in becoming honorable flagbearers of peace and order after this 3-months program. I trust that you are men and women of valor. Thus, I urge you to serve our nation well. Protect our people. May God bless you as you abide by your sworn responsibility and principles as disciplined and distinguished members of our police force.

At this point, may I express my gratitude to the Director of the National Police Training Institute for inviting me. It has been a while since I visited camps of dedicated and mission-oriented government servants. I thank you for being shepherds to the more than 600 law enforcers. I thank you for your sacrifices just to keep htem well and upright.

Again, congratulations to Class LakanDigong of the Philippine Public Safety College. Mabuhay ang Philippine National Police! Mabuhay ang Pilipinas! Mabuhay po tayong lahat.

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