On the 121st Police Service anniversary held at the Philippine National Police (PNP) headquarters last Aug. 8, 2022, President Ferdinand R. Marcos Jr. laid down his marching orders and policy guidance to the 226,000 officers, men and women of the police force, ably led by new PNP Chief Gen. Rodolfo Azurin Jr. This was the President’s first official visit to Camp Crame, in an event that had the theme “Matibay na Ugnayan ng Pulisya at Mamamayan, Tungo sa Pagkakaisa, Kapayapaan, at Kaunlaran (Strong Relationship Between the Police and Citizenry Leads to Unity, Peace, and Progress).”
The event, which commemorated the founding of the Philippine Constabulary, the country’s first insular police force on Aug. 8, 1901, was the perfect occasion for the President to call the members of the PNP as “vanguards of peace” and the one that will “uphold law and order” across the land.
“You (have) to give your best without sacrificing integrity and prevent even a hint of dishonesty and abuse from influencing your decisions,” the President said. “It is a must that the application of your mandate is firmly grounded on moral principles: Integrity, accountability, and honesty to ensure continued public rapport and support.”
The President also enumerated the rationale of how the PNP under his administration should enforce the use of “force.” He said use of force must be “reasonable, justifiable, and only undertaken when necessary.” Whereas the execution of authority must be “fair, impartial, devoid of favoritism or discrimination regardless of race, gender, socio-economic status, political affiliation, and religious belief.” These guidelines, according to political experts, reveal a Commander-in-Chief that is rational in his thought process, preferring to ponder on practicality rather than pander to populist remarks that have hounded our nation’s past leaders.
After the President’s directive, he also honored the unrivaled service of the law enforcement officers, who have “put their lives on the line in the performance of their duties on a 24/7 basis.”
“The tremendous risks and often unseen danger attached to your line of work are daunting for many and yet without hesitation, the PNP continues to pursue its calling to serve others.”
Being the frontliners for maintaining peace and order is just one of the responsibilities of the PNP’s men and women as the President cited their various roles in society – assisting in vehicular traffic, addressing emergency situations, investigating crimes, implementing educational outreach programs, teaching crime prevention, among others.
And like any other public servant, the President said that they, too, shall face criticisms, especially in the age of social media. “These attacks, warranted or not, unfortunately will be relentless. But I know that you are made of sterner stuff, your strong sense of patriotism and love of country, your bravery and firm commitment to serve… there is no doubt that we will overcome and triumph in the end despite all odds.”
The path to a strong nation starts when people, in harmony with their neighbors, live in peaceful communities safeguarded by a police force that is not only efficient and responsible but also emphatic to the needs of each and every individual. Ultimately, there can be no progress without order; there can be no prosperity without peace.