Persistence begets success and success begets opportunities
Following the creation of the National Task Force to End Local Communist Armed Conflict (NTF- ELCAC) in 2018, the Philippine government has been unwavering in its intensified efforts and campaigns against terrorism and insurgency across the country through the Whole-of-the-Nation Approach by virtue of the provisions of Executive Order Number 70. As such, being situated in the government center and catering to the Metropolis, the National Capital Region Police Office (NCRPO) under the supervision of Police Major General Jonnel C. Estomo, Regional Director, has doubled its dedication and commitment to broaden the government’s campaign against terrorism and all other related crimes, including illegal drugs connecting communities to communities, and bringing the government services available to the public up to the grassroots.
In 2022, NCRPO launched the S.A.F.E. Program which stands for Seen, Appreciated, Felt and Extraordinary police organization. The said program is fully anchored to the concurrent PNP peace and security framework: the Malasakit plus Kaayusan plus Kapayapaan equals Kaunlaran (M+K+K=K). The primary strategy of the NCRPO’s SAFE Program is to effectively provide police visibility in all areas of convergence, major establishments, and public areas in the entire National Capital Region. The program is also enriched with the support of the existing technological innovations, like the SAFE NCRPO APP ALERT. It is a mobile application with short messaging system (SMS) monitored by the Region’s Tactical Operations Center which can serve as a real-time alert server in case of crimes and other related incidents or events which need police intervention.
The said program allowed the community to easily connect with the Philippine National Police, providing them a sense of trust and mutual understanding relative to the maintenance of peace, and in attaining an orderly community that is free from crimes and other threats to public safety and security.
On January 24, 2023, NCRPO successfully facilitated the Withdrawal of Support to 26 former rebels to the Communist Party of the Philippines/New People’s Army. Police Brigadier General Jose S. Hidalgo, Jr., the Deputy Regional Director for Administration, NCRPO, represented Police Major General Jonnel C. Estomo in a short ceremony given to the surrenderers held in the Hinirang Hall in Camp Bagong Diwa, Bicutan, Taguig City. Atty Benjamin “Benhur” Abalos, Jr., the Secretary of the Department of the Interior and Local Government attended the said occasion. SILG was joined with other members of the NCRPO Command Group, Regional Staff, District Directors, and all the Chiefs of Police and Station Commanders, along with the representatives from other concerned agencies such as National Intelligence Coordinating Agency (NICA), Department of Social Welfare and Development (DSWD), Department of Labor and Employment (DOLE) and the Technical Education and Skills Development Authority (TESDA).
Said former CTG members took their Oath of Allegiance to the Philippine government through the efforts of the National Capital Region Police Office thru the office of the Regional Intelligence Division (RID) led by Police Colonel Romano V. Cardiño.
Majority of the surrenderers were full-time members of the New People’s Army (NPA) with a position of Platoon Leader, Commanding Officer, Secretary of Local Party Branch and Finance Collector. They joined the group of Sandatahang Yunit Propaganda (SYP). Pulang Mandirigma, KP5 L2, Pang Probinsiyang Yunit operating in Camarines Norte, Camarines Sur, Sorsogon, Albay, Masbate, Inga and Bula in the Bicol Region.
As for the record, the surrenderers were engaged in ambuscades victimizing government troops such as AFP and PNP, and also in the insurgency in the different areas in Region 5. They were trained at the Alyansa ng Kabataang Mamahayag (AKM), Lipunan at Rebolusyong Pilipino (LRP) Batayang Kurso ng Partido (BKP), Abanting Kurso ng Partido (AKP), Batayang Kurso sa Pulitiko-Militar (BKM).
In collaboration with the Department of Social Welfare and Development, NCRPO provided the 26 surrenderers with food and grocery packs, health kits and cash assistance. The Police Regional Office will also facilitate the former rebels to undergo a seminar and orientation as one of the requirements in the processing of E-CLIP or the Enhanced Comprehensive Local Integration Program, as well as in their integration back to their respective communities and to the fold of the government.
Secretary Abalos however encouraged the surrenderers to forget the past, and take lessons of the past, learn from them and move forward with resolve to and for a brighter and better future.
“Andito ang kapulisan, andito ang army, andito ang gobyerno, lahat tayo magkakapatid. At iyan ang sabihin natin sa mga kasama natin na hanggang ngayon ay nalilinlang pa rin,” Secretary Abalos said.
“Napakahalaga ng buhay. Kung kayo ay nasasaktan, nasasaktan din ang military, nasasaktan din ang pulis. Bawat buhay na mawawala, masakit sa bawat isa at hindi dapat mangyari yun. Malalabanan natin ito, hind sa armas kung hindi sa puso ng bawat isa, ang pakikiisa ng bawat Pilipino,” Abalos concluded.
Major General Estomo reiterated in his leadership the attainment of a “SAFE NCRPO” where the communities can affirm to themselves that the police organization is really Seen, Appreciated, Felt, and Extraordinary to the community they serve and protect through their extraordinary deeds.
“I am hopeful that we can work together in ensuring the success of our anti-criminality and peace-keeping campaigns, and help contribute to the transformation of PNP (Philippine National Police) in the quest to become a highly capable, effective, and credible police organization. One that enjoys the confidence, trust and respect of the people we serve and protect,” said Major General Estomo in one of his talk to men engagements.