By Aaron Recuenco
After several years of being relegated to the sidelines every anniversary celebration of the Philippine National Police (PNP), the National Capital Region Police Office (NCRPO) finally bagged the best police regional office award during the 118th Police Service Anniversary.
NCRPO chief Maj. Gen. Guillermo Eleazar attributed the award to the more than 50 percent crime reduction the office achieved, as well as the aggressive internal cleansing that included outright response to every netizens’ complaint against erring Metro Manila cops.
“I truly cannot describe the elation I feel about this historic achievement by the NCRPO. For the first time in decades, the NCRPO’s time to shine has finally arrived,” said Eleazar.
“I commend all the officers, men and women of our different districts for a job well done. You do us proud and you inspire everyone to continue to raise the bar of excellence in the performance of your tasks, our tasks. I congratulate you all,” he added.
For Eleazar, the significant morale-boosting events in the past three years have inspired Metro Manila policemen to work harder.
First, he said the big salary increase for policemen somehow put pressure on commanders down to the lowest ranking policemen to do mote due to high public expectations.
President Duterte earlier, vowed to double the salary of policemen and the military, a promise that was realized in January 2018 although only the entry-level salary was actually doubled from almost P15,000 to almost P30,000 a month.
The increase for the rest of ranks, however, was still high.
“By raising our salaries and allowances, he gave us the chance to lessen the financial stress among our personnel, thereby improving every police officer’s productivity,” said Eleazar.
“In Metro Manila, where the cost of living is higher than most regions, the salary adjustment is very meaningful. But most of all, in increasing our salaries, the President re-instilled the pride and self respect of all members of the PNP,” he added.
Erring policemen who have continued to engage in illegal activities, according to Eleazar, are now the subject of aggressive internal cleansing program.
The new motivation brought by big salary increase led to a significant decrease in crime rate.
One of the major factors, according to Eleazar, was the aggressive campaign against illegal drugs which proved the theory that most of the crime against person and property are related to illegal drugs.
By zeroing in on illegal drugs in the past three years, Eleazar said that it led to the reduction of crime rate by 50 percent.
The third factor, according to Eleazar, was the outright disciplinary measures on erring cops, especially those complained by netizens.
A number of policemen were either dismissed from the service or punished severely after their abusive behavior was captured on video footage and went viral.
The latest incident was the policeman who blocked a motor vehicle and pointed a high-powered firearm on a motorist.
Eleazar ordered the relief of gun-toting Police Master Sergeant Wilson Aquino, and also cut short his vacation for him to report to NCRPO and face investigation.
“Through active and immediate response on netizens’ complaints, they are somehow empowered and somehow gain courage and confidence to cooperate with the police, knowing that these kinds of abuses will not be tolerated,” said Eleazar.
Another, he said, was the support system the policemen have been receiving from the President– from operational equipment needs to moral support of providing assistance to policemen who are facing harassment charges.
Lastly, Eleazar said that the media also helped a lot in improving the performance of the policemen as the policemen were either compelled to do more or inspired to do well, knowing that their anti-crime actions or lack of actions are guarded by the mainstream media.
“It is the media who help reincarnate in the hearts of our Filipino people, their trust and confidence in their policemen so that now, our people are more cooperative in giving information and reports that lead to faster crime solution. This is why crime is continually on the descent,” said Eleazar.
“Through all these, it is our media friends who are finally telling the people, the President was right, and continues to be right after all. The beauty of this is that the people really feel the positive changes in peace and order in their daily lives,” he added.
The NCRPO chief also expressed gratitude to Metro Manila local government units for support.
“Let us continue to bring down crime incidents in our Metropolis so development and progress can truly prosper. Let us remember that Metro Manila is still the face of our country to all nations in the world. So let us make it more vibrant than ever before,” said Eleazar.