Constituent policy

Marcos sets police policy during visit to Camp Crame

President Ferdinand Marcos Jr. will make his first official visit to Camp Crame, the headquarters of the Philippine National Police, on Monday for the police service’s 121st anniversary.

The 227,000-strong police force is expected to receive political orders and guidance from Marcos.

The event will commemorate the founding of the Old Philippine Constabulary, the nation’s first island police force, on August 8, 1901.

As Commander-in-Chief, Marcos will present awards and citations to outstanding PNP units and personnel. He will be assisted by Secretary of the Interior and Local Government Benjamin Abalos Jr. and General Rodolfo Azurin Jr., the new leader of the PNP.

Azurin is the 28th leader of the PNP and the first under Marcos. He will serve until April 24, 2023, when he will reach the mandatory retirement age of 56.

He said the anniversary will highlight the peace and security framework of the PNP.

“As we mark this auspicious day, we also honor and pay tribute to our fallen police officers, our unsung heroes, whose legacy, outstanding devotion to duty, selfless service and unconditional love and sacrifice for our country and our compatriots are forever etched in the colorful history of the PNP,” Azurin said in a statement.

“We are here to show the nation’s enduring gratitude and pursue the ideals they held dear.”

In a radio interview also on Sunday, Azurin said he wanted all police officers to actively engage barangay (village) officials in building peace and order at the community level.

He said the engagement will include planning and implementing peace and order strategies, as village leaders are in a better position to determine the courses of action that work for their constituents.

“Fundamentally, we are always focused on crime prevention and crime solving, so we need to organize the community and mobilize it so that we can work together to bring peace and order to our country,” Azurin said.

Village officials, Azurin said, have extensive information networks about people among their constituents who are involved in illegal activities.

Azurin said building good working relationships should be extended to include other sectors of society, including religious and academics.

“The police know their job and what we want is for the police, barangay officials and other stakeholders to work together when it comes to progress and development,” he added. “We need to establish a good relationship with the community so that they trust the police.”

During his stint as director of the Ilocos region, Azurin said he went down to the barangay level and asked for help.

He also pledged to end the patronage system in officer promotions through a five-year recruitment, promotion and retirement plan.

“This will give leaders insight into the financial needs needed when requesting the annual budget for personnel services,” he said. “Secondly, we must continue to ensure that our staff due for mandatory retirement receive all the benefits to which they are entitled on the day or year they retire.”

Another agenda that Azurin will pursue is to pursue rogue police officers.

“To further cleanse our ranks of misfits and undesirables, we need to improve our counterintelligence,” Azurin said.

“Therefore, to further strengthen our internal cleansing program, all commanders must exercise their respective disciplinary authority, otherwise they will be replaced by a more capable commander.”

In a radio interview, Azurin said the PNP would continue to advocate the protection of human life in the government’s campaign against illegal drugs.

Azurin told dzBB radio that there should be a thorough study into the root cause of the drug problem in the country.

“We shouldn’t just seize several kilos of drugs and someone died in our drug operation,” he said in Filipino.

“While we are doing our job, we are also trying to preserve human life because killing is not the solution,” he added.

The government under the previous administration had come under heavy fire for its bloody war on drugs that claimed thousands of lives.

Azurin also said that the issues of terrorism and rebellion must be dealt with through thorough and intense intelligence work.