Cebu News

PRO-7: Cops’ food now okay

The Freeman

CEBU, Philippines - The Police Regional Office-7 yesterday assured that the more than 3,000 policemen securing the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation delegates are already having better meals and accommodation.

“Past na yun. We’re happy to inform you that their food is catered to already. And we have already adjusted our budget for that,” said Rey Lendon Lawas, PRO7’s chief of regional directorial staff.

Lawas, who was among the guests of yesterday’s “Kapistorya sa Kapitolyo,” said the meager food their men got were at the early stage of the APEC meetings, when they still had “no guidance.”

The FREEMAN learned that even without a single peso as downpayment, the caterers provided packed meals for the APEC policemen.

Chito Pernia, owner of a catering services located in Mandaue City, said they have been serving at least 150 policemen deployed in the city since last week, and they saw to it that the policemen liked their service.

Saying he has been in the business for 27 years, Pernia said they accepted the request even without any payment yet, so they made sure the police would have no complaints on what they gave them.

“Kami mismo, mani-guro mi,” he said, adding that their business will not survive if they could not satisfy their clients.

Pernia, though, said it is seldom for them to serve food without downpayment but because they have a good relationship with the Philippine National Police, they are doing their best to help the policemen.

He said he also understands the processes in the PNP in which it takes time before the budget is released.

“Kasabot ko diha. But, I cannot sacrifice my food presentation over money,” he said, adding that they even gave a discount to the packed meals they are serving.

On the other hand, Pernia said that whenever they find it hard to sustain the policemen with the food they need, he will surely ask assistance from the Mandaue City Police Office for them to maintain their good service.

“Naa pa gyud ni mga balances but praise God, makaginhawa pa mi. But if dili na sad, mamarayeg na pud mi ni Senior Superintendent Mariano Natuel Jr. (MCPO chief),” he said.

In a separate interview, Natu-el said that the augmentation forces and MCPO personnel are “more satisfied” with the food served to them.

“Puera buyag. Ang ila reklamo lang about sa packed meal kon giunsa sa catering, sa tinud-anay lang, kon giunsa pagpa-igo sa catering ang amoa nga packed meal nga gi-serve sa ilaha,” Natu-el said.

Natu-el also said that even the media wondered how the caterers prepared the meals considering the small budget for the food.

The police were also served with different kinds of food in every meal, particularly the viands.

“Lain-lain… Duha ka kan-on, desserts, softdrinks, juice,” Natu-el said, revealing that the caterer has a branch fronting the Coca-Cola Bottlers, Inc. in Mandaue City.

He said MCPO personnel were the ones who picked up the food to be served to the APEC security personnel assigned in Mandaue.

Yesterday, Natu-el showed to the media one of the packed meals for lunch of the policemen. It consisted of two cups of rice, fish fillet, chicken curry, pinakbet, one bottled water, and a cookie for dessert.

Asked about the policemen who complained because of the quality of the food served to them, Pernia assured they received compliments from the policemen. He however refused to comment on the service other caterers provided to the APEC security personnel.

Lawas, on the other hand, “certain adjustments” were already made to provide better meals to the more than 3,000 PNP men scattered all over the APEC routes, hotel venues, and other strategic areas.

As to the poor accommodation, Lawas told the media that they have also resolved that with the help of the host local government units.

“Billeting areas are already identified by the LGUs,” he said.

He however did not specify if the policemen, who were seen sleeping in hammocks in schools since the start of the APEC event, will be billeted in hotels.

The PRO7 official said the Provincial government has also opened a portion of the Cebu International Convention Center for some of their men to sleep in at night.

He admitted that there were other PNP men who were renting hotel rooms which they had to pay using their own money, and that it’s their decision.

It was reported earlier that the PRO-7 has directed the Finance and Logistics team for the APEC summit to check the caterers serving the packed meals of the policemen.

Last Thursday, Cebu City Mayor Mike Rama offered help from the city government by suggesting that they augment the meal budget of the policemen.

However, during a meeting conducted by Vice Mayor Edgardo Labella together with the Police Coordinating and Advisory Council members yesterday, Labella said there is no need to augment the meal budget.

“So far sa police, 300 pesos is enough because it’s 100 per meal. City Inspector De la Rosa just reported to me that the 1,400 police officers assigned at APEC  are now already covered with the said food allowance and this includes the police officers who came from other region, and those from Cebu city,” Labella said.

For the barangay tanods and the 200 City Traffic Operations Management personnel deployed for APEC, they were also given food allowance worth P100 per meal and twice a day, which is also provided by the city. The budget allocated for this was from the Cebu City Disaster Risk Reduction Management Office’s funds.

For the other volunteers from the different barangays, including the 80 criminology students from the University of Cebu, they brought their own food. — Liv G Campo, Jave A. Matugas, USJ-R Intern Charlyne J. Calisang / RHM (FREEMAN)

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