GMA  ORDERED  CALDERON TO  FREE  CITIZENS  FROM  FEAR

MANILA,
JULY 6, 2006 (STAR) By Cecille Suerte Felipe - President Arroyo ordered yesterday new Philippine National Police (PNP) chief Deputy Director General Oscar Calderon to intensify the government’s campaign against insurgency and make Filipinos feel safer.

"As you run to the ground the armed core of the terrorist left, free the citizens from fear and defeat their armed struggle," Mrs. Arroyo said in Filipino.

"The PNP and the Armed Forces of the Philippines should stop the so-called revolutionary taxation to protect the citizen from extortion," she said.

Mrs. Arroyo said she expects Calderon’s experience in police management to make a dent in the government’s fight against the Left.

"I have no doubt that General Calderon will carry on the banner of service that is turned over to him," she said.

The Chief Executive gave the marching orders when she formally installed Calderon as the 13th PNP chief at Camp Crame in Quezon City yesterday.

In his speech, Calderon, a member of Philippine Military Academy Class ’73, vowed to pursue "active counter terrorism programs and swiftly eradicate criminality."

"Insurgency has impeded economic development in the countryside and discouraged investments," he said.

"For years, civilians and law enforcers alike have become casualties of a war that bred deception among our people. Now is the time to fight back –to defend our police stations and fortify these bastions of peace and order.

"Let us pursue every terrorist and criminal down to the farthest barangays, if only to insure law, peace and order in every community," Calderon said.

He also thanked Mrs. Arroyo who approved his nomination Tuesday.

"I patiently waited 37 years for this moment," Calderon said. Before his appointment as PNP chief, Calderon was deputy director general for administration.

During the ceremony, the President conferred on newly retired PNP chief Director General Arturo Lomibao the Philippine Legion of Honor, with the rank of Commander, in recognition of 16-month tour of duty as PNP chief.

Mrs. Arroyo acknowledged the sterling performance of Lomibao, who retired after 38 years in the military and police service.

Lomibao, who reached the mandatory retirement age of 56 yesterday, advised Calderon and other future PNP chiefs to be loyal to the Constitution and the Republic.

"To all those who will come after me, remember this lesson well: our job demands loyalty to the institution, to the chain of command and to the Constitution," he said.

"Our oath binds us to a life of unwavering service to God, to country and to our citizenry. As I bid farewell to the service and to all of you, I bid the next in line to lead by your values of service, honor and justice.

"To those who have come before us, the last 11 chiefs of the PNP, have laid the ground for an institution that is rock solid and ready for challenges," Lomibao said.

It was during Lomibao’s term that a series of protest actions and coup attempts rocked the government.

In the reports of destabilization, often times Lomibao was said to be among those who turned his back on Mrs. Arroyo, but he proved the rumors wrong by staying with her until his retirement.

During those trying times, Lomibao said he learned three gems of wisdom: courage, loyalty and leadership during his 479 days as chief of the 118,000-strong PNP.

"Courage under fire, in defense of conviction and principle, will always win the day... Loyalty is the tie that binds commander and troops, the fabric that protects an institution from erosion and demolition," he said.

"Leadership is a way of life, not mere edicts or orders... if you lead with a heart and vision you will gain the respect and administration of your people," he said.

Lomibao said the fruits of his term can be best seen on the ground, in the new police stations with upgraded firepower and mobility, in the improved peace and order and in the pro-active partnership with the communities for security and instability.

"I could not stay silent and let rumor and innuendoes inflict damage on the uniform and on the badge," he said. "For this service has been my life and this should not be taken lightly or trifled with."

Known as "Mr. Cool," Lomibao admitted throughout his term, "there was only one incident that caused me to lose my temper."

This was a newspaper article entitled "PNP position for sale," which he said "crossed the line... shredding the dignity of our service."

But, Lomibao said, "I did my best to bring back the dignity to the uniform and the badge."

During Lomibao’s term, more than 100 police stations were built, withstood protest and destabilization, fostered alliance with counterparts institutions against crime and terror.

The face-to-face encounter of Lomibao’s only son with a corrupt policeman further strengthened his resolve to clean the police force.

On the first month as PNP chief, Lomibao recalled his son Arthur Chase was extorted P30 by a policeman assigned at the mobile division of the Quezon City Police.

"After coming from a hospital, where he took his girlfriend, he was approached by a uniformed policeman, and their conversation went like this: Police: Galing ka yata sa gimik pare?

Chase : Di po, dinala ko hospital yung girlfriend ko.

Police : Ginabi ka yata, san ka uwi?

Chase : Sa bandang Greenhills po.

Police : San sa Greenhills?

Chase : Sa Santolan po

Police : San sa Santolan?

Chase : Sa Crame po.

Police : San sa Crame?

Chase : Sa White House po (official residence of PNP chief).

Police : Eh di kilala mo si Chief PNP Lomibao?

Chase : Tatay ko po.

Police : Pahingi na lang ako ng pang-gasolina.

Chase : P30 na lang po and naiwan sa wallet ko.

Police : Sige, pwede na yan.

It was not the first time Lomibao told that story, though during his incumbency, he tried not to magnify the incident to prevent perception that he initiated the program because of the incident.

"Instead of sending that police to hardship post in Mindanao, which was usually the case before, I sent this policeman together with all the other 250 members of the Quezon City Mobile Patrol Division to attend the value formation in Subic, Zambales.

Lomibao said, "My son’s experience opened my eyes and gave more reason to push for stronger police stations, physically, mentally and spiritually so that every police officer wears the badge and took the job without having to compromise his principle or dignity just to get by."

He also presented his report card to the President, which itemized the police campaign against jueteng, particularly, anti-illegal drugs, bank robbery, kidnapping for ransom, street crimes, terrorism and the status of building police station for a stronger Republic.

"Our program of building police stations also taught me that teamwork makes everything possible, goals that will benefit the many, dreams of new buildings and equipment for more police personnel can become true," he said.


Chief News Editor: Sol Jose Vanzi

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