President Marcos to PNPA graduates: Nation first before self

Helen Flores - The Philippine Star
President Marcos to PNPA graduates: Nation first before self
President Ferdinand "Bongbong" Marcos Jr. leads the 45th commencement exercises of the Philippine National Police Academy (PNPA) Layag-Diwa Class of 2024 at Camp General Mariano Castañeda in Silang, Cavite on April 19, 2024.
PPA Pool photos by KJ Rosales / The Philippine STAR

MANILA, Philippines — Police officers should put the nation above self, President Marcos said yesterday.

“Taumbayan bago ang sarili,” Marcos told new graduates of the Philippine National Police Academy in his address before Layag-Diwa Class of 2024 at the PNPA.

He also told the graduates that being digital natives, they should do “smart policing” and take advantage of technology to combat crime and protect communities.

“Most of you were born when the internet was no longer in its infancy, and you were shaped to be tech savvy, digital natives. I challenge you to leverage that technology that you are familiar with as aids in protecting and serving our people, especially in battling cybercrime,” Marcos said in his speech at the Camp Gen. Mariano Castañeda in Silang, Cavite.

Of the 223 graduating PNPA cadets, 199 will serve the Philippine National Police, 12 will be enlisted with the Bureau of Jail Management and Penology (BJMP) and the remaining 12 will join the Bureau of Fire Protection (BFP).

But he stressed the new officers should not abandon the basic and traditional methods of protecting Filipinos.

“I ask you to embrace smart policing, fire prevention and penology. There is still no substitute for pounding the streets. When it comes to assuring the people, analog will always beat digital,” the President said.

Marcos said the fight against crime now involves a potent mix of gadgets and war rooms and old-fashioned work by gritty police officers.

To those who will join the BFP and BJMP, the President said he expects them to maximize IT to improve their service deliveries while minimizing cost.

“We should not be content with current fire response time, but instead strive to make it faster,” Marcos said.

“We should not crow about jail improvements, but we should push the envelope further, lessening congestion. And most of those in uniform have kept the values and principles that define who public servants truly are,” he said.

With the President at the graduation ceremony was Vice President and Education Secretary Sara Duterte.

Marcos presented the diplomas to the graduates, including the Presidential Kampilan Award to Class Valedictorian Police Cadet Ma. Camille Cabungcal Cabasis of Lian, Batangas.

The Presidential Kampilan Award symbolizes a new officer’s eager desire to protect the motherland.

Marcos also reminded the PNPA Cadet Corps to impress the country just as much as they impressed their mentors in the police academy when they hurdled every challenge and passed every test that prepared them for the hard work ahead.

“Earn their respect the way you have earned the respect of your classmates during your four crucible years in this academy. You could not have chosen a more fitting name than ‘Layag-Diwa’ in capturing your class’ ethos and energy,” the President said.

“For each one of you, let ‘Layag-Diwa’ be your chart, your compass, in reaching your destiny. Let what you have learned in this school take you as fast and as far as your talent will,” the Chief Executive added.

In her valedictory speech, meanwhile, class topnotcher Cabasis said hardships and challenges should not stop young Filipinos from pursuing their dreams.

Like many of her classmates, Cabasis said she came from humble beginnings and had to struggle to help her family.

“We have untold stories that made us stronger which gave us reason to continue despite the rigors we had experienced,” she said.

“Why am I saying this? This is to inspire every Filipino youth, telling them that with hard work and perseverance, nothing can hinder us in achieving success,” she added.

Cabasis, the only daughter of couple Edwin and Lucena, was a working student during her college years, specifically as a photocopy center attendant, earning P25 an hour. She also sold siopao to her classmates to fund her education.

When she was in high school, she was a member of a marching band which performed during fiestas in her hometown in Lian, Batangas.

“Behind the uniforms that we wear, behind the titles that we have, there come different stories that pushed us to where we are today. Legends are born in the valley of struggles,” she said.

Cadetship was also not easy for Cabasis and her classmates as they entered the PNPA in 2020 at the height of the COVID-19 pandemic.

Due to restrictions, Cabasis said their parents were not present during their reception, incorporation and recognition rites. — Emmanuel Tupas

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