Police reminded to be apolitical in 2016 polls

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The Philippine National Police (PNP) chief has reminded all police personnel to remain apolitical in the May 9 elections this year when around 50 million Filipinos are expected to elect a new leader.

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Director General Ricardo Marquez, in his New Year message to the PNP, on Tuesday at the same time challenged all members of the 160,000-strong force in ensuring peace and order in the 2016 polls.

“Once more, we reprise our role we played well in the 2010 and 2013 elections when we effectively secured every ballot and ensured the conduct of peaceful and orderly elections,” Marquez said.

The PNP chief added that one challenge is to surpass achievements of the 2010 and 2013 election security operations.

“Let us give life to patrolling as we deploy more trained police personnel to the streets. Keep in mind that patrolling is not merely walking your beat . . . it is leaving a good impression to the public and making them feel that policemen and policewomen are not only their servants and protectors, but also their friends and mentors,” Marquez said.

He added that he wants police personnel to exercise the highest degree of discipline and tolerance when they are out on the streets without sacrificing power and authority as law enforcers.

“Let us always consider the fact that the responsibility to prevent crime and maintain peace and order is not ours alone. The members of the community are as much part of this endeavor as all other government agencies,” Marquez said.

According to him, the police should continue to build bridges of cooperation with all sectors and strengthen police-community partnership in the campaign for peace.

“We have seen the whole government approach in earlier endeavors like the APEC [Asia Pacific Economic Cooperation] meeting and Oplan Lambat Sibat. Let us build on these and stimulate stronger cooperation among all sectors as we give greater meaning to the words ‘Crime prevention is everybody’s business,’” Marquez said.

He added that he wants 2016 to become a year of unparalleled achievements and reform as the police renew their commitment to the service.

“And I assure the PNP leadership’s constant guidance and direction,” Marquez said.

“As we continue to pursue the PNP’s vision of a highly capable, effective and credible police service . . . we will work hard toward provision of more equipment and facilities to police units to enable them to pursue their mandate more efficiently and effectively,” he added.

“Let us face 2016 as one strong force and united force… willing to risk life and limb in the service of God, country and people,” Marquez said in ending his New Year’s message to the police force.

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