I’M referring to the need for the Philippine National Police to look after the welfare too of so-called Persons Under Protective Custody of PUPCs, albert people being held in temporary police lock-up facilities nationwide for various felonies amid the current pandemic.
It’s a sad truth that police detention facilities in Metro Manila and the rest of the country are teeming with arrested lawbreakers, many of them facing drug-related charges, thus the possibility of these areas becoming ‘super spreaders’ of virus is not far-fetched.
Apart from the detainees, police personnel specifically custodial officers and investigators may also be afflicted by the killer germ since they are exposed to the inmates specially those assigned in small precincts and stations. Since last year, I have been privy to a number of custodial prisoners who have died after showing COVID-19 symptoms in the metropolis and the same may also be happening outside the National Capital Region.
Thus, I would like to congratulate officers and men of the PNP Criminal Investigation and Detection Group’s National Capital Region Office in Camp Crame for taking into consideration the plight of their PUPCs.
I discovered this when I visited the CIDG-NCR headquarters for the 1st time since PNP chief, General Gilor Eleazar took over as the 26th PNP chief vice his mistah, now retired Gen. Debold Sinas. Four months after, there have been a number of major changes at the CIDG-NCR office, I found out last Monday.
They include the renovation and repainting of their different offices, the conference room, the façade, the parking area, the stockroom and evidence room and their mess hall. Well-lit and ventilated, the CIDG-NCR office also now boasts of hotel-like bathroom and toilets which is what the police and their clientele really wants.
To top it all, the CIDG-NCR constructed a new temporary lock-up facility and a holding cell for male and female law offenders. This is unique because the male and female holding cell serves as a ‘holding area’ for newly-arrested felons until they are transferred to the main jail after two-weeks of observation.
The holding cells are equipped with electric fans and toilets with running water, giving an inmate no reason to ask an officer to escort him to the toilet to answer the call of nature or take a bath and afford him the chance to plan an escape.
It is necessary too since a PUPC with COVID-19 can transmit the virus with ease once he/she is immediately taken to an overcrowded police jail. Thus, it is a must for police commanders to look for an extra space which they may convert into ‘holding cells’ for newly-arrested law offenders.
Giving police personnel, PUPCs and other guests and visitors the chance to use a well-kept toilet, with good running water, exhaust system, complete with warm lights, soap and even alcohol is part of Gen. Eleazar’s ‘Exaggerated Cleanliness’ policy, I believe.
The PNP chief actually must be adored for seeing to it that all police stations, Police-Community Precincts and other PNP facilities where citizens usually go to file a complaint or seek assistance will be clean both inside and out.
The 26th PNP chief is also making sure that roads leading to police headquarters will also be clean and not an ‘eyesore’ to motorists and pedestrians, an example of which is the huge space under the flyover in front of Camp Crame and Camp Aguinaldo in EDSA Santolan.
That space had been previously converted into an illegal parking space for all kinds of motor vehicles including recovered cars and SUVs as well as mobile cars and motorcycles of the Highway Patrol Group.
Amid complaints from the general public about the presence of the EDSA eyesore, the PNP chief called the attention of the HPG leadership which immediately responded. Right now, the area is already clean of all unauthorized motor vehicles, vagrants and other obstructions except for a movable HPG outpost. It was really a nice job.
Four months after he launched his exaggerated cleanliness’ program thru his Intensified Cleanliness policy, the PNP chief have received a huge volume of congratulatory messages and complaints from the public. The number is also growing amid his E-SUMBONG program.
The PNP chief likewise ordered the removal of all fighting cocks, cages and all dirty and unauthorized structures inside police camps, stations and buildings as part of his ‘exaggerated cleanliness’ program.
Since last May, Gen. Eleazar has been in the habit of inspecting the cleanliness ‘inside and out’ of police stations, headquarters and other facilities. A clean police station, for the PNP chief means no cigarette butts or candy wrappers in flower pots, well-kept offices and most importantly, having a clean toilet.
This is the reason why all 17 Police Regional Office directors as well as the different heads of PNP national and administrative support units as well as the PNP Directorial Staff are seeing to it that they will be personally inspecting their own facilities.
The former NCRPO director’s policy is anchored on the so-called Broken Window Theory which is criminological theory that states that visible signs of crime, anti-social behavior, and civil disorder create an urban environment that encourages further crime and disorder, including serious crimes.
I think that many ordinary kids know this by heart. When we were playful kids, we usually throw stones at broken windows of an abandoned house in the neighborhood while nobody was looking. The aim is to hit and break the remaining windows. However, no kid would dare to stone a window with complete glasses for they know they will be in trouble. That’s a fact.
Now, Gen. Eleazar is seeing to it that small problems will be fully addressed before they turn into much bigger problems. It’s the reason why he has asked his ground commanders to leave their air-conditioned offices and visit their stations and PCPs to ensure that his policy is being followed to the hilt.
“I would like to seek the help of the public in this program. Pagbigyan lang natin na ayusin ng ating kapulisan ang kanilang mga opisina, stations at iba pa. Kahit walang gamit, basta walang upos ng sigarilo, balat ng candy at iba pang basura sa loob at labas, basta malinis ang toilet, ayos na ayos yan,” said the PNP chief.
By the way, I have learned of an ongoing General Guillermo Eleazar for Senator Movement which is on a mission to attract tens of thousands of signatures to convince the PNP chief to join the 2022 senatorial race. He may be retiring this coming November but many see Eleazar as another ‘Ping Lacson’ in the Senate: firm, intelligent, disciplinarian and honest. Please join the movement.
Before I end, I’m calling on readers to save the following hotlines: Smart: 0919-1601752 and Globe: 0917-8475757. In case you need to report illegal activities being committed by your neighbors or officers of the law, just text these numbers.