Punchline

Trust your police

By Ermin Garcia Jr.

 

FINALLY, the Dagupan City Police Station is showing the way, specifically, how to sustain a winning war on drugs. The impact of the recent surprise mandatory testing of all its police personnel, from the chief down to the last man/woman, at the very least, assures the city populace that its police can be trusted!

Last year, I received a verified information about a PO4 who was active in the drug trade and continued through his retirement. I quietly relayed this to the police chief then but to my dismay the drug-dealing cop was never taken to task and even managed to keep a network working until last month. That surely made me doubt about the integrity of the city police then.

With P/Superintendent Jandale Sulit leading the line for the drug test, my faith in the city police has been restored. His decision to make everyone accountable and responsible should tell all and sundry that he means business in this war on drugs.

More so, because all police personnel already receive a huge adjustment in their salaries, hence, there can be no justifiable reason for anyone to take drug trade as a sideline.

Three cheers for Mr. Sulit and his station!

I hope Provincial Police Director P/Sr. Superintendent Ronald Lee will soon order surprise mandatory testing of all police stations in the province if he expects communities to fully support him in this campaign contra drugs.

In the same vein, I also hope Guv Pogi will direct the surprise mandatory testing of all barangay officials in the province, costs of which should be shared equally by the provincial, town and barangay funds.

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POLICE CAN MAKE THE DIFFERNECE. To this day, despite declaration of all barangays in Pangasinan as drug-cleared and free, I dare say we still have barangay kapitans, kagawads who are still into the drug trade.

You can be sure that if there is one barangay official in the drug trade, there is a police protector in it too… and possibly the mayor or some councilors continue to be in the payroll of drug syndicates.

Note that the certification of drug-clearing by oversight committees required 95% administrative processing.  A certification by a barangay kapitan is self-serving and suspect, especially when the mayor is a close ally. And who in the barangay would dare question a false certification by the kapitan knowing the latter could continue in that post for sometime given the predilection of the national government to keep postponing barangay elections?

It is in this regard that I maintain that only a professional and dedicated police force can make a difference in our war on drugs.

There are and there will be emerging drug personalities in the barangays every day, and the only way the province can be known to be drug-free for a day is when our police and PDEA keep reporting arrests of drug pushers daily.

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TEMPLATE FOR TOWNS/CITIES. Laoac town is also trailblazing in the war on drugs.

Mayor Silverio Alarcio hit the nail on the head on how to best beat the drug syndicates and keep his town drug-free creditably. His formula is practical and doable.

He said the town government should provide funds for random drug testing of any sector, should make barangay officials accountable for activities of transients in their villages, and should allow villages to impose curfew when necessary.

His formula makes for a good template for towns/cities on how to cope with the challenge to keep a town/city clear of drugs.

No wonder his town is a consistent recipient of the Seal of Good Governance from the Department of Interior and Local Government. And under his leadership as president of the League of Mayors in Pangasinan, 24 towns also received the Seal.

If all towns and cities adopt the three-fold formula, the challenge in Pangasinan will already be half won.

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PANGASINAN NEEDS STAKEHOLDERS. The country is now abuzz with arguments for and against charter change, and amending the system of government from unitary republic to federal republic.

And given the timeline being looked at by movers, it is likely that a decision will be reached with less than 20% of the populace understanding the implications and impact of the proposed charter change and shift to federal system, unless the education sector, civic and professional groups involve themselves actively in the process.

My unsolicited advice is for the CHED office in Pangasinan to meet and instruct the colleges and universities to organize a series of symposium on the both topics in their respective campuses to allow for intelligent discussions. Ditto for DepEd in Pangasinan, to organize lectures for Grades 11 and 12 students.  The objective is to make students as stakeholders who in turn can explain to their elders, relatives and friends what the debates are all about. 

Civic and professional groups, as stakeholders, should take the lead in hosting symposiums for their own members and in villages or host public debates in partnership with our Pangasinan Press Club and the KBP-Pangasinan chapter.

The IBP Pangasinan or deans of law departments in our colleges and universities can designate resource persons who can authoritatively speak on the business of charter change and the proposed shift to federalism.

If we don’t act today, the millennials and next generations will suffer the brunt of wrong decisions made in this decade.

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WORD OF MOUTH IS BETTER. I am in receipt of a friendly and constructive observation about Dagupan City for Mayor Belen Fernandez to consider.

I was asked why the city is beginning to earn a reputation as a ‘tarpaulin city’ instead of it being a clean and orderly progressive city.

The visitor obliged me with an explanation. He said, “There’s no doubt that your mayor wants the city to be known as the best managed city in the north and the best proof of that is for residents and visitors to talk about it. But talking about it is primarily influenced by what they see and hear, not by what they read in tarps.”

He added that a clean surrounding, orderly flow of traffic, a disciplined people may be evident but what easily catches the eye of a roving person are the rows of huge tarpaulins in each major intersection. He said these distract attention away from what the city hall wants people to experience about the city.

A worthy reputation through word of mouth, not via tarps should be the objective, he said.

I wonder how many agree with this perception.

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