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Notes on 116th police service anniversary

  • Written by Alfred P. Dalizon
  • Published in Opinion
  • Read: 261

Crame files

CHIEF Inspector Jovie Espenido exuded full confidence when he received his award from President Duterte and PNP chief, General Ronald ‘Bato’ dela Rosa during the 116th Police Service Anniversary last Wednesday in Camp Crame.

I was one of the guests during the program and heard remarks from some senior police officials who said that the true mettle of Espenido will be tested once he is assigned by Gen. dela Rosa to areas in Metro Manila where Muslim drug dealers and other criminals and terrorists are known to be lurking.

They referred to areas like the Muslim Compound in Quiapo, Manila where defiant criminals including drug dealers are known to have lobbed grenade at police precincts or attacked officers conducting anti-narcotics operations in the past.

There is also the Culiat Muslim Compound in Tandang Sora, Quezon City, the Islamic compound in Bicutan, Taguig City or the Muslim compound in Dasmariñas, Cavite where relatives of slain drug dealers in the past are known to have exacted revenge on their police tormentors and worst, engaged in ‘Rido’ or clan war.

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The PNP chief however said he has no immediate plan to transfer Espenido to a new assignment since he needs to finish the job he has done in Ozamiz City. What is clear here is that Espenido, who said he has no qualms about his next assignment—may be given a new mission in the future, a job which others before him have failed to do.

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I was a spectator when extreme heat downed 25 PNP personnel who were exposed under the scorching sun for over four hours during the 116th PSA rites at the heavily-secured PNP parade grounds, now known as the Transformation Oval. The heat was so intense that we were all perspiring. Our only consolation is that we were given bottled water and Gen. dela Rosa went near us and made some light jokes.
However, all 25 PNP personnel, two of them police one-star generals were immediately ordered discharged after being treated at the PNP General Hospital mostly for heat exhaustion, high blood pressure and  dehydration.
On Friday, there were circulating rumors that one of the 25 passed away a day after the successful event. The PNP Health Service was quick to deny the report and said that the cop who is believed to have died—a Special Action Force trooper with the rank of Police Officer 1 has already returned to their headquarters in Sta. Rosa City on Thursday afternoon.
It turned out that the commando, one of the SAF parading elements collapsed due to low blood sugar and stayed at the emergency room for several hours before being discharged in the evening. It’s good to hear that the 25 are now well.
Actually, the unpredictable hot weather has prompted calls from Camp Crame-based personnel attending the PNP ‘Slimpossible’ activities every 3 p.m. of Tuesday and Thursday to please change the schedule of the weight loss program from late afternoon of the day to early in the morning when the weather is still cool.
I found out that last Thursday afternoon, three PNP non-uniformed personnel were taken to the PNPGH’s emergency hospital after suffering from heat exhaustion while attending the physical conditioning activity at the Camp Crame oval.
It’s a reality that exposure to the heat of the sun-when the heat index is ’41 degrees Celsius is very dangerous and could kill a person. Before the President arrived last Wednesday, I saw emergency crew from the PNP Health Service running back and forth to care after dozens of the parading elements and other watchers who were collapsing one by one.
The generals who were sitting beside me were also counting the number of the parading elements who were collapsing one after the other due to the hot weather. We saw PNP ambulances coming back and forth to transport the uniformed and non-uniformed personnel who can’t anymore endure the heat of the sun.
One of the parading elements, Chief Superintendent Elmer Escosia was seen leaving the area although the other, Chief Supt. Angelito Casimiro bravely stood his ground and waited for the parade and review to finish before being brought to the hospital due to heat exhaustion.
Heat index is a measure of how hot it really feels when relative humidity is factored in with the actual air temperature. On Thursday, the heat index in Metro Manila soared to a dangerous 41 degrees Celsius.The heat index or the human discomfort index, often called the “init factor,” is the temperature felt by the body based on air temperature and humidity.

Normal body temperature is 37 degrees Celsius. A heat index of at least 41 degrees Celsius is considered a ‘dangerous’ level since one can suffer from heat cramps, heat exhaustion and heat stroke after being exposed under the sun for hours. This is what happens when a police personnel is required to attend a ceremony or a physical conditioning program without their medical condition being checked.
As many have been telling me, we should not wait for a police officer or men undergoing a physical fitness program or a parade to collapse and die due to exhaustion or other medical reasons. In fact, it should be prevented.