‘Capt. Matt’ brings books, cheer to school kids

Eva Visperas (The Philippine Star) - April 21, 2014 - 12:00am

MANILA, Philippines - A mascot in policeman’s attire brings cheer to school kids during lectures and distribution of books through the Oplan Libro program of a police officer from Dagupan City.

Senior Supt. Harris Fama, who is now the regional chief of the Criminal Investigation and Detection Group (CIDG) in Region 5, told The STAR that when he started distributing books to public elementary schools in Dagupan, the recipients were not so excited.

The books Fama distributed came from friends like Reverend Joseph Wright, a member of the Delano City Police in California.

In one of Wright’s earlier visits to Lingayen, Pangasinan where Fama was then police chief, the plan to bring into the Philippines some books from a school in California was hatched.

Fama said the US-based school was about to change its books to updated versions so the old ones in Grammar, Mathematics and Literature, which are still very useful, were shipped to the Philippines for his Oplan Libro project.

Fama said each of the more than 20 public elementary schools each received from 40 to 60 books.

When Fama was assigned to Camp Crame, he met the maker of the mascot of a popular fast food chain, and he got the idea of a mascot wearing a Philippine policeman’s uniform. He said the mascot would also make children see the policeman as a friend, and not someone to be feared.

The succeeding Oplan Libro operations became exciting experiences for the kids, as Fama also brought the mascot on some of his lectures in the barangays.

One time in Albay, he met the security officer of Misibis Bay Resort who told him of the resort’s feeding program for kids. “Capt. Matt” was requested to be present to make the kids happier.

Fama took the chance to talk to the kids and he felt the excitement of the children when he introduced Capt. Matt.

“I was deeply touched because about 90 per cent of the kids there said it was their first time to see a mascot,” Fama said.

He said he always emphasizes to the kids to be good citizens of their community and there are policemen, represented by Capt. Matt, willing to help them, like in the distribution of books to broaden their knowledge.

He stresses in his lectures the leadership role of policemen and the help of the community that is needed to attain peace and progress in their areas.

Capt. Matt resembles Fama’s young son Matthew, whose photo he gave to the mascot maker to copy. The name MATT is an acronym for Magalang, Matulungin, Magalang At Tulung-Tulong tayo.

“Capt. Matt is now assigned in Bicol because wherever I go, he goes,” Fama said.

He said he and the mascot are inseparable and the mascot is now part of his community relations initiatives.

The mascot was invited for the first time to attend the civic parade of the Magayon Festival in Legazpi City, Bicol recently.

He said Capt. Matt can be invited to school activities, and he hopes more people would support his Oplan Libro project so that Capt. Matt can bring more books and more cheer to schoolchildren.


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