MANILA, AUGUST 11, 2011 (STARweek)
By Cecille M. Suerte Felipe (Cover photo by Joel Zamora)

The police force marked its 110th anniversary last week, faced with controversy but also with shining examples of the dedicated performance of its personnel that bring pride to the badge and uniform of the Philippine National Police (PNP).

Chief Inspector Benigno Albao Sr., chief of Station 2 of the Naga City Police, devoted time in mentoring the men and women of his command to effectively perform their duty to serve and protect the Filipino people. Albao’s performance stood out among 1,700 police commanders nationwide as he was adjudged the 2nd Lead PNP Awardee.

PNP chief Director General Raul Bacalzo said Albao lived and led his men by example and mentored them in becoming dedicated police officers, the true essence of the PNP’s Integrated Transformation Program (ITP).

“We want the PNP to be capable, efficient and credible. On the second year of the Lead PNP Award, we recognize the accomplishment of a police chief who mentored his police personnel in serving the public better,” said Bacalzo.


The PNP chief said the Lead PNP 2010 National Selection Committee searched for a police chief who could effectively make his personnel realize the spirit of the transformation program of the PNP.

“We want somebody who can mentor and teach our policemen and effectively convey to them the police transformation program. We are trying to make every policeman from the lowest rank of PO1 (police officer 1) up to feel the transformation in the police force,” Bacalzo emphasized.

In bringing the program to the police stations, Director Arturo Cacdac Jr., executive director of the ITP-Program Management Office (PMO), said the performance of police units in the field reflects on the national leadership. “In surveys, people rate the PNP in reference to the local police. That’s why we really have to improve the competence of police stations. That’s actually the major goal of the Lead PNP Award.”

PMO is the central management facility for all PNP reform programs and projects since 2006.

Bacalzo said Albao epitomized the characteristic of a true mentor and leader with his ability to determine critical issues, his courage to accept the problems, dedication to come up with a solution or plan to solve the problem, and his clever way of involving the stakeholders and the community.

(Photo - Among the Lead PNP finalists are Chief Inspector Artemio Infante of Bauang, La Union.)

“The problem on peace and order cannot be handled alone by the PNP, we need the support of the community. And that was what Chief Inspector Albao did,” Bacalzo noted.

Speaking at the thanksgiving and awards dinner held recently in Camp Crame in Quezon City, Bacalzo said, “We honor the work ethic and leadership output of one of our outstanding officers as the model for the change we seek, and as testament to how far we have gone (in transforming the PNP).”

Bacalzo noted that Albao’s records stood as a beacon for all policemen and policewomen to continue to encourage reform, change and excellence.

“His ability to determine critical problems, courage to face and address them and reach out to the community made him the Lead PNP for 2010.”

Bacalzo, his command group and directorial staff conferred the trophy, medal and other awards on Albao during the thanksgiving dinner.

Albao also received P250,000 cash prize, a laptop, a .45 caliber pistol, and a scholarship for a graduate course.

(Photo - Superintedent Romell Velasco of Mariveles, Bataan.)

The PNP chief also announced that the PNP will give Albao’s police station four sets of desktop computers, a multimedia projector, and a brand new patrol car to be taken from the 2011 procurement budget and donations from non-government organizations.

Bacalzo has been pursuing the PNP-Integrated Transformation Program through the PMO. Bacalzo served as the first executive director of the PMO and was the chairman of the National Selection Committee of the 1st Lead PNP award for 2009 that chose Superintendent Sterling Raymund Blanco, the chief of police of Laoag City in Ilocos Norte.

“We have been pursuing programs in the PNP to make our police officers capable, efficient and credible,” pointed out Bacalzo.

Albao’s winning strategy

With the city’s continuous progress and booming population, the PNP leadership reconstituted the Naga City Police into two police stations, and tapped Albao to head the second police unit.

“I was happy to lead discordant and disheartened police personnel, who used to march to different tunes, dance to different music and had different orientation,” said Albao.

(Photo - Senior Inspector Arnold Ventura of Kabayan, Benguet.)

When he assumed office, Albao recalled having felt that people around him had a wait-and-see attitude. “They were waiting to see what kind of chief I would be. But I showed them how dedicated and sincere I am to make the community I serve peaceful and orderly.”

During his first few weeks, Albao recalled having to face critical concerns – personnel morale and discipline, street crimes and the peace and order situation in the barangays.

Slowly, Albao initiated programs to win the trust and confidence of his 76 personnel by conducting regular brainstorming with people knowledgeable on organizational development.

As he noticed significant improvement in the attitude of his police, Albao said his team went out of the police station and reached out to the external stakeholders – the community.

With the help of his police and the community, Albao facilitated crime mapping in his area of responsibility and created the barangay information network (BIN), a strategy to get the actual situation on the ground.

(Photo - Chief Inspector Gilbert Gorero of San Jose, Antique.)

“We solicited the help of barangay officials who readily extended their support to us,” Albao added, noting that their BIN now includes professionals and business owners among its members.

Despite limited equipment and resources, Albao launched Motorcycle Cops Against Crimes and Detective Beat Patrol Teams to further address the needs of the citizens. What was so unique about the MCAC and DBPT was the police officers would use their own motorcycles since the police station could not provide enough equipment. The community even got on board the programs.

“Stakeholders learned about out campaign, and some of them offered to shoulder our gasoline expenses, which inspired us even more,” said Albao.

Albao’s recognition culminates a long and truly inspiring career.

“I was born and raised on a farm, and later in my life I realize that there were more beautiful things to see than a carabao’s behind,” Albao, who worked hard to get an education, told the audience.

With six siblings, Albao understood that his parents – his father was a farmer – could not send all of them to school. So he studied hard and used his dedication and determination to be able to get a good education. From high school to college, Albao was a full scholar. After graduation, he entered public service.

(Photo - LEADING THE WAY: Lead PNP awardee Chief Inspector Benigno Albao Sr. of Naga City was cited for his exemplary leadership of the men and women of the Naga City Police)

“On May 1, 1979, a new world was opened to me when I entered the police service as a beat patrol man,” he said.

Albao attributed his leadership style to the influence of his former superiors, who guided him in his career as a police officer.

“My superior asked me to type the classic line the quick brown fox jumps over the lazy dog, which I did with my index fingers. Then he told me that I could be an investigator,” Albao recalled with a grin. “In my heart, I tend to believe that anybody who could type that classic line could be an investigator.”

“As I rose up the ladder, reaping some honor along the way, I came to realize that what brought me to where I am was not my personal misconceived notions of police expertise and prowess, but rather the accumulated mentoring, patience, and loving kindness of my mentors,” Albao pointed out. “I made a vow that when my time comes I will repay their kindness, which I pass on to my subordinates.”

With only seven months before retiring from the police service on Feb. 15, 2012, Albao has, indeed, left his mark in PNP history.

Cacdac said Albao’s achievement would surely inspire chiefs from the 1,700 police stations all over the country to excel and be part of the roster of prestigious awardees.

“Definitely they will be inspired, not only the chiefs of police but officers designated to the same position of transformational leader and mentor-leader, meaning they should be able to identify concerns in their area and then they should be able to provide solutions to these concerns or problems,” Cacdac told The STAR.

(Photo - Albao is dedicated to making the community peaceful and orderly, meeting regularly with residents)

Like Albao, Cacdac said police chiefs should have the vision to come up with the right solutions and the courage to implement them. “If the resources of the PNP are not enough to solve such concerns, they should be able to mobilize the stakeholders and the community to support the activities and projects.”

Albao was chosen from among chiefs of police nominated by the 17 police regions. A technical working group composed of senior police officers whittled down the list of semi-finalists to five finalists – Chief Inspector Gilbert Gorero of San Jose, Antique; Chief Inspector Artemio Infante of Bauang, La Union; Superintendent Romell Velasco of Mariveles, Bataan; Senior Inspector Arnold Ventura of Kabayan, Benguet; and Albao – who were then assessed and validated on site by the National Selection Committee.

This year’s National Selection Committee was composed of Director Cacdac as chairman; Prof. Jose Navarro of the University of Asia and the Pacific as vice chair; Albert Escalona, president of the Badge of Honor Foundation; Fr. Antonio Labiao Jr. of St. Peter Parish in Quezon City; and STARweek editor Doreen Yu.

Chief News Editor: Sol Jose Vanzi

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