'Hostage incident should serve as challenge to PNP'
- Mike Frialde () - August 31, 2010 - 12:00am

MANILA, Philippines – The police should take last week’s deadly hostage incident as a challenge and a learning experience rather than as an embarrassment, according to a recipient of the Country’s Outstanding Policemen in Service (COPS) award.

“Let us view it as a challenge, that it should not happen again. There are positive lessons to be learned here. It is not exactly an eye-opener but it is more of a challenge for us officers,” Superintendent Leo Francisco told The STAR.

A clumsy police response was widely believed to have led to the killing of eight Hong Kong tourists who were held hostage by dismissed police officer Rolando Mendoza in a bus in Rizal Park last Aug. 23.

Francisco, who is with the Philippine National Police (PNP) Directorate for Integrated Police Operations (DIPO)-Northern Luzon, is one of the10 recipients of the 2010 COPS award for his service as head of the Regional Police Intelligence and Operations Unit of the National Capital Region Police Office (NCRPO).

Francisco said that the hostage taking incident should not cloud the PNP’s major accomplishments.

Francisco was cited for his role in paving the way for the prosecution of suspects in the Ruby Rose Barrameda murder case and in busting the Alvin Padilla carjacking ring.

Francisco credited the success of his unit to its close interaction with the community.

“The members of the community should be the policeman’s partners. The fight against crime should involve community participation,” he said.

Francisco said the value of community involvement became more apparent to him during his stint as head of the Intelligence Division of the Manila Police Department.

He said the Manila Police has made it a point to conduct regular dialogs with student groups since the city is host to the university belt.

Francisco added that information sharing at the barangay level has also proved useful in monitoring the security of the Pandacan oil depot.

“We have radio groups at the barangay level which assist the police in monitoring the security situation across the city,” he said.

“There is always a continuous exchange of information,” he added.

The COPS award, established in 2003, is a joint undertaking of the Metrobank Foundation and the Rotary Club of Manila East.

Aside from Francisco, other recipients of this year’s COPS award are Superintendent Florencio Ortilla of Davao City; Superintendent Noel Ponsaran of Davao City; Superintendent Sidney Villaflor of San Jose City, Nueva Ecija; Police Officer 3 Edilberto Euraoba III of Sibulan, Negros Oriental; Police Officer 3 Shella Mae Sangrines of Iloilo City; Police Officer 3 Zoraida Aripin of Zamboanga City; Police Officer 3 Joey Castillon of Tobias Fornier, Antique; Senior Police Officer 2 Hermie Raymundo of Lingayen, Pangasinan; and Police Officer 3 Roel Paclibar of Tacurong City, Sultan Kudarat.           

Each awardee receives a cash prize of P250,000 and a trophy.

The awardees are chosen from among some 100 nominees.

The 10 awardees have gone through a rigorous screening process involving panel interviews and documents evaluation.

Justice Secretary Leila de Lima and Supreme Court Associate Justice Mariano del Castillo co-chaired the panel of judges.

Panel members were Dr. Jose Ma. Arsenio Mariano, president of the University of Asia and the Pacific; Eusebio Tan, president of the Management Association of the Philippines; Jose Tale, chairman of the Couples for Christ; Paul Schafer, resident representative of the Hanns Seidel Foundation; and Joel Reyes Zobel, a broadcast journalist from “Super Radyo” DzBB of GMA Network. 

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