Speech of President Arroyo during the 11th Anniversary of the Philippine National Police

Her Excellency Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo
President of the Philippines
During the 11th anniversary of the Philippine National Police

[Delivered at Camp Crame, Quezon City, February 7, 2002]

Isang malaking pagbati ang pinaaabot ko sa lahat ng mga pulis ng Pilipinas sa pagdiriwang natin ngayon ng Ika-11 anibersaryo ng Philippine National Police.

Ang panahon ng anibersaryo ay panahon ng pagpapasalamat. Unang-una, nagpapasalamat ako sa sistema ng inyong anibersaryo. Ang tema ninyo ngayon ay, “Sa Serbisyong Matatag, May Gloria Ang Katapat”. Hindi ako ay pumili noon, si General Mendoza ang pumili noon.

Pero totoong sinusubaybayan ko ang lahat ng ginagawa ninyo. Ngunit kahit hindi pa man Gloria ang aking pangalan, siguradong tayo ay haharap pa rin sa isang kinabukasan, may Gloria o may kaluwalhatian kung kayong mga pulis, tayong mga naglilingkod sa pamahalaan at lahat tayong Pilipino ay magtutulung-tulungan upang magapi ang kahirapan, masugpo ang kriminalidad, at makamit ang katahimikan ng buong bansa.

On may 1 last year, you defended the presidency and constitutional rule. You showed temperance, restraint and courage in the face of provocation and danger. You wielded the iron hand of the law, but in full human respect for human rights. This has been the hallmark of your work. Loyalty, reform and achievement, these have been, indeed, the hallmark of your work.

I am glad that you respect human rights. Kasi pag ang pulis nakakalimutan ang human rights, isang araw summary justice, susunod na araw kalaban na ninyo ang pinapatay, kaya hindi mabuti iyon. You wield the iron hand of the law, but respect human rights. And I am very glad that has been the characteristic of the Philippine National Police in the present administration.

I am gratified that the reforms being done in our national police, crime solution efficiency is high. You arrested 230 members of kidnapped for ransom syndicate this past year compared with only 51 the year before. I commend your PNP Chief General Mendoza and our anti-kidnapping task force Chief, General Ebdane, for producing this result quietly and professionally. And in the face of stiff constraints, I can see that your morale is enduring. I thank you for that and I congratulate you.

On the domestic side, you also enforced last New Year’s Eve a successful ban against fire crackers and the firing of weapons during the entire holiday season, which resulted in the most peaceful Christmas and new year celebration in many years.

And I am particularly proud of your contribution to the global and regional fight against terrorism. Careful sleuthing and efficient networking led to the seizure of explosives and arms in General Santos city and the arrest of 4 international terrorists — including Indonesian Roman Al-ghozzi who has been confirmed by the Singaporean authorities to be a key member of Jimaa Islamiya. These achievements mark our determination to operate unilaterally and trilaterally with Indonesia and Malaysia to constrict terrorism traversing our common borders. Your feat has not escaped the eyes of other countries.

King Abdullah of Jordan in the world economic forum said, that he specifically wanted to meet me because he knows and appreciates our efforts regarding this. He has offered to provide us with intelligence assistance regarding the Jimaa Islamiya and its operations and network in our region.

Indeed, as King Abdullah said, those guys you are fighting are the same guys I am fighting; and I’m willing to help you fight them. Fighting crime and terrorism is a globalized effort. Alliances are important, and we must strive to expand and deepen them. But much work remains to be done. Root out terrorism, work with the international community, return the reputation of manila and the Philippines as a welcoming and safe place in which to live and do business. Increase the benefits from our new global relevance and engagements after years of being isolated and adrift. We will meet the new round of kidnappings with more intense focus and counter force.

I have ordered a clear cut delineation of the functions along anti-crime and anti-terrorism fronts. Let me make it clear, the police has primary responsibilities over operation against the pentagon gang while the military has primary responsibility over operations against Abu Sayyaf.

I am clearly drawing these lines of authority and responsibility. And with this, I hope we shall push on until all these groups are fully neutralized and accounted for.

To eradicate the recruitment ground of terrorists, criminals and destabilizers, I am instructing the police to take the lead in organizing visible, sustained outreach and emergency employment programs particularly for out-of-school, out-of-work urban poor youth in metro manila. When the police mean business, terrorists and criminal syndicates are put out of business.

We will continue our long term program to professionalize the PNP. The organization is being beefed up. Last June, I created the national anti-crime commission to make the agencies in-charge of fighting crimes more interactive. For instance, you may have arrests, but that doesn’t mean that your work is over. Because it is interactive, it is also part of your interest to see to it that these arrests are followed through with the appropriate prosecution.

I instructed General Mendoza last year to hire 1,700 new personnel, all college graduates. They made their first appearance in mall assignments last Christmas. We are increasing the quality and quantity of training programs, including those promoting effective community relations.

I am instructing the public safety college to add a specialization course on crime investigation and detection. And I am directing the PAGCOR to provide a supplementary budget for this specialized course.

My recent visit to London, Canada and the U.S. Resulted in $1.2 billion of new investments, but it also resulted in the formal commitment by Prime Minister Tony Blair for Scotland yard to help the PNP, build up the skills and capacity to fight kidnapping and other organized crimes. Scotland Yard is waiting for our troop Commander General Fianza to go there to London to discuss the detailed curriculum with them.

I have also instructed General Fianza to make a similar formal proposal to the Hongkong police for a similar training program as a follow up on my talks with Chief Executive Tung Chee Hwa during my official trip to Hongkong late last year.

I frequently keep in touch with our police officials through command conferences and some other informal assemblies to ferret out and resolve problems. These informal assemblies include 1:30 a.m. Telephone calls to General Mendoza.

Last year, I checked on your needs. And I gave myself target for providing those needs. I am proud, that as General Mendoza reported, I am complying with those targets.

For instance, RA-8551, the law to professionalize the PNP, ten years ago or eleven years ago, provided for a salary scale for policemen equal to that of teachers. But for ten years this was not implemented until last year, when I got a supplemental budget from congress to finally carry out the new salary scale of our policemen.

And this year, congress provided an even bigger additional budget. And I thank the congressmen and congresswomen, several of whom are here for that. This will enable us to implement the law fully this year.

I would also like to thank senator Nene Pimentel who is not here today, for supporting the formulation of the new PNP rules of engagement. Your new rules of engagement and your revised medium term plan for development will further improve your performance.

Indeed, last year, I also listened to your tales of woe about your retirement pay. As a result, the budget secretary released P5 billion to cover retirement gratuities up to January of 2001. Other obligations had been included in the 2002 budget. Your additional budget and the senators’ support for your new rules of engagement exemplify the close executive-legislative partnership we need to shore up law enforcement. The partnership should even extend more widely to the entire community.

As we have seen, as an example from some of the awards you gave out today, there has been a dramatic rise in the number of civic, religious, and non-government organizations supporting the PNP.

For your health care needs, the Camp Crame hospital is now being upgraded with the support of the Philippine Charity Sweepstakes Office and the national development company. We are acquiring modern hospital equipment amounting to P282 million funded by a loan facility ____ through the MBC.

We have increased the number of educational grants and scholarships to police dependents. The mechanism is now in place . Please avail of these opportunities.

Your president worked hard for these benefits for you. Because your president trusts in your sense of duty. I believe in the great Filipino worker, whether in government service or in the private sector, whether in the police force or in the civil service, whether in industries or in the services. The great Filipino worker including the great Filipino policeman is a pillar of excellence imbued with the strong sense of sacrifice, discipline and professionalism.

Pulse Asia’s third quarter 2001 survey cited a 30 percent net approval rating for the PNP. Congratulations. And a 22 percent net approval rating for the PNP Chief, congratulations too. But we must take this as a signal to aim higher in our goals. Public trust must be the prime mover of achievement.

You have my unremitting faith and my commitment to push our common quest forward. In cooperation with all the pillars of the criminal justice system, we restrengthened the rule of law permanently throughout the republic. The task is difficult and full of pit holes, but we will not abandon it. Mastering a supreme sense of duty, the unity and support of the people and the institutions of good government, we will restore justice, law and order, and public safety in all corners of the land. Yes, the job is difficult, the sacrifices are stiff. Some succumb to corruption and abuse. This past year, the PNP dismissed and charged no less than 800 scalawags. But this should only go to show that the PND is capable of cleaning up its house and I know that most of you hold the line of courage and integrity. Shameful lessons of the past must not be repeated. For instance, we must never again….. Merit with patronage. We must never again divide the police force, between those who tow the political line and those who do not. Blind to partisan loyalties is what we must be. We must move forward in recognition of committed, earnest and effective performance. There is no gauge for excellence but achievement. There is no overlord but the people. Such principles infuse the awards we gave out today. Those who received these awards are our beacons of service. We emulate them because they show the way to our law-abiding, compassionate and just society. And i ask you once again to join me in fulfilling that vision of a law abiding, just and compassionate society.

Ito ang ibig kong iparating ng sabihin kong dapat tayong magtulungan. Sapagkat ang inyong tungkulin, tinutulungan kayo ng pamahalaan upang lalo pang mapahusay ang inyong trabaho at upang mapabuti pa rin ang inyong pamumuhay. At ang ating mga kababayan ay tumutulong din upang higit pang husay ang mapapakita ng pnp. Sa inyong serbisyo hindi lamang ang inyong pangulo ang inyong katapat kundi ang buong sambayanang Pilipino. Tinatapatan nila, tinatapatan ng pamahalaan nang suporta ang lahat ng inyong mga programa tungo sa kapayapaan at kaunlaran. At sa pagtutulungan ng lahat, malaki ang pag-asang darating na rin ang luwalhati ng ating kinabukasan.

Muli binabati ko ang mga binigyan nating parangal bilang outstanding policemen and policewomen ng taong ito at binabati ko lahat kayong narito. Lalo pa tayong sumikat para sugpuin ang kahirapan, sugpuin ang kriminalidad. Mabuhay kayong lahat mga dakilang pulis ng bansa Pilipinas.

Maraming salamat sa inyong lahat.

Source: www.op.gov.ph

Macapagal-Arroyo, G. (2002). PGMA’s Speech during the 11th Anniversary of the Philippine National Police. Retrieved from https://web.archive.org/web/20100412230755/http://www.op.gov.ph/index.php?option=com_content&task=view&id=7619&Itemid=38