PHILIPPINE National Police chief, Director General Oscar D. Albayalde on Wednesday paid tribute to the gallant men and women of the 175,000-strong police force as he bared the PNP’s major accomplishments in fighting drugs and crime, terrorism and rogues in uniform in his own address to the nation during the 117th Police Service Anniversary at Camp Crame attended by President Duterte.
In his speech the PNP chief honored the PNP’s forerunner organizations – the Insular Constabulary, the Philippine Constabulary and Integrated National Police – and paid tribute to the men and women whose heroism and gallantry gave color and meaning to the pages of police service history.
“These are the constables, the policemen and policewomen whose service spans one hundred and seventeen years of fighting crime, insurgency, terrorism and all other forms of lawlessness. They are the men and women who suffered defeats and celebrated victories, and showed the world that they may have always been outnumbered but certainly never outfought,” he said.
Gen. Albayalde said that the majority of the police force have made our streets peaceful and secure through all the years and the PNP “will remain relentless in keeping criminals at bay, in ridding our streets of lawlessness and violence, and in achieving an environment where our countrymen can walk the streets safely and go about their daily lives without fear and anxiety in their hearts.”
The PNP chief told his audience led by President Duterte that the past two years saw the PNP fight crimes and the illegal drug menace relentlessly like never before, producing results unprecedented in police service history.
“And we are proud to declare that crime incidents have since been on a downtrend. We saw a vigorous cleansing of our ranks as we sought to prove to our countrymen that we are determined in giving them a police force composed of truly honest professionals and responsible public servants. And we endeavored to strengthen public engagements in recognition of the importance and indispensability of community support as our most potent weapon against the evil elements of society,” he said.
According to the top cop, from July 1, 2016 to June 30 this year, the country’s total crime volume fell by 20.4 percent compared to the previous total for the same period from 2014 to 2016.
During the same period, index crimes decreased by 46.95 percent, with crimes against persons lower by 30.42 percent and crimes against property declining by 56.16 percent.
“The PNP remains steadfast behind the President in his call for change in the country, and we welcome with even greater enthusiasm and resolve his declaration during his recent State of the Nation Address that the illegal drugs war is far from over and will be as ‘relentless and chilling’ as on the day it began. Indeed, it will be,” he stressed.
“We refuse defeat in the war on drugs, and we are now recalibrating Oplan Double Barrel and the war on illegal drug trafficking and abuse and our operational thrusts on various law enforcement concerns and initiatives to sync well with the national policy. Through a stronger Oplan Tokhang, we will be more relentless in accounting for the remaining drug users in our watchlist who have yet to surrender to authorities for rehabilitation, even as we will also be relentless in monitoring the whereabouts and activities of more than 1.274 million drug users and street pushers who have surrendered to make sure that they have actually mended their ways,” he said.
Gen. Albayalde recognized the fact that despite the gains and victories they have achieved in the anti-drug war in the last two years, the drug problem “remains serious as we continue to battle the merchants of death, the big time drug targets who continue to threaten the lives and security of our countrymen.”
He assured that the PNP Oplans Double Barrel and Tokhang are stronger than ever and are further bolstered by the implementation of the PNP’s Enhanced Managing Police Operations strategy against crime and lawlessness. “We strongly support the President’s relentless and chilling war with our surgical and chilling campaign against drugs and crime. We have also been relentless in cleansing our ranks of misfits and scalawags, rogue cops who are into illegal drugs and who use their posts to commit wrongdoings,” he said.
Gen. Albayalde said that from July 2016 to last June 30, a total of 1,828 rogues in police uniform have been dismissed out of the 6,401 facing administrative charges. A total of 3,589 have been suspended, 362 were demoted, 403 were reprimanded, 147 were penalized with forfeiture of salary, 43 have been stripped of privileges, and 29 were restricted to quarters, he added.
Another 498 policemen were also investigated for illegal drug-related cases, with 266 found positive for illegal drug use and 232 were linked to illegal drug activities. Of these, 261 police and civilian personnel who tested positive for drug use and 92 who were involved in illegal drug activities were dismissed from the service. The rest have been suspended, demoted, reprimanded or exonerated.
The PNP chief said they are wasting no time in running after rogues in uniform as he again strongly reminded his men on the importance of not sleeping on the job, “on wearing our uniforms properly and proudly, and on rendering courtesy and respect to the members of the community at all times.”
“I want my men to live and breathe discipline 24/7. Borrowing the words of Senator Lacson, “we cannot discipline a society without a disciplined police force”. And I want every member of the organization to nurture and show self-respect and respect to the public because I have always believed that genuine public service is anchored on respect,” he said.