Random Thoughts

THIS POLICE CHIEF IS DIFFERENT — I have been observing this police chief and I admire his work ethic.

I do not personally know Urbiztondo police chief, P/Chief Inspector Joshua Maximo, but I can say, without fear of contradiction, that he is someone who is worth emulating, as far as his dedication to his work is concerned.

Why, you might ask.

From the time I started covering the most controversial driver-bodyguard in the Philippines, Ronnie Dayan, I have been observing how he treats the media, whether local or national.

When asked about updates, he promptly replied via text message or phone call. He never kept us waiting for his reply, unlike many police chiefs, some of them senior officials, I know. He replies pronto to help us with our work.

When Dayan was arrested in his hiding place La Union and back to his hometown for the congressional hearing, he was again very cordial and prompt in answering.

He even saw to it journalists were secure each time we sought to interview Ronnie Dayan. He never had second thoughts about accompanying us to Dayan’s residence.
“You don’t have to, sir,” I told him once but he was quick to answer, ‘Mas panatag ang isip ko at ng mga kapulisan ko Ma’am na samahan na lang kayo kaysa mas masakit pa ang ulo namin kung may masamang mangyari sa inyo.”

Of course, I had no reason to believe something could happen to us but his words were reassuring knowing he and his men are ready to serve and assist us or anyone.
And when Dayan was arrested on Feb. 23 based on a warrant of arrest issued by the Muntinlupa Regional Trial Court for drug trade (which was also the subject of the Congressional and Senate probes in the New Bilibid Prison), Maximo gladly acceded to interviews.

While I was at the Urbiztondo Police Station Thursday night, I observed how he accommodated phone calls, mostly, of course, from various media outlets.

He did not even heave a sigh due to fatigue or stress but was very cordial and patient with each call, repeating answers to same questions over and over.

“Kung ibang hepe yan, papatayin na yung cellphone nila at nagdadabog na,” I told a colleague.

But Chief Inspector Maximo is different.

I suggest that this amiable and professional police chief be made a resource speaker in seminars or fora for police chiefs and other government officials on ‘How to deal with media’! – Tita Roces


MORE SELF-RELIANCE NEEDED — It is tragic to note that in case of fire in Dagupan, as what happened one dawn sometime in early part of this month in Malued, the Bureau of Fire Protection (BFP) could only respond with one fire engine (fire trucks to many) as the two others were under repair.

With the fire month of March just around the corner, how prepared and capable is the Dagupan BFP in battling fires?

We posed this question to Fire Marshal Romie Tungpalan, chief of the local BFP when he guested at K17 Kabaleyan Channel, and he admitted that he has sufficient number of firemen but they have only one functioning fire engine.

So, residents cannot possibly hope to save most of their properties in case of fire, with only one fire engine responding.

This was the pathetic situation for the BFP under the Aquino administration. Firefighting was given least priority over the years. Not a single brand new fire engine was allocated to BFP Dagupan in the past.

Tungpalan is hoping that the needs of the BFP will finally be addressed by the Duterte administration, providing them not only more fire fighting engines but more gears and tools, maximizing their effectiveness while minimizing risks to their lives when responding to a fire.

Fortunately for Dagupan, the city has its old reliable Panda Firefighting Brigade of the  local Chinese community, and recently complemented by the CSI’s two fire engines ready to respond to any fire in the city and Pangasinan, if need be.

On the part of the city government, Mayor Belen, in her first term of office, the city purchased a brand new fire truck, the first administration ever in the city to do so.  That along with an old water truck, was placed under the operation control of the City Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Office (CDRRMO).

While Fire Marshal Tungpalan is confident about getting more support from the Duterte administration, he urges big business establishments to follow CSI’s lead by also buying their own fire engines.

He said his station would be willing to train the workers and volunteers of these business establishments to become firefighters.

By the way, Mr. Tungpalan has announced that the BFP regional office is now recruiting new firemen to be deployed anywhere in the region, including Pangasinan.

This is a challenge to Dagupenos and Pangasinan who want to become our new heroes as professional firefighters. – Leonardo Micua

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