Cops deployed in Zambo return with hero’s welcome-A A +A
Monday, November 4, 2013
RETURNING police officers deployed to Zamboanga City and Jolo, Sulu shared their experiences in conflict areas as the Philippine National Police (PNP-10) accorded them with a hero’s welcome for their bravery and valor in the face of adversities.
The more than a hundred law enforcers from Northern Mindanao could not forget what they had been through during their almost two months of deployment.
Senior Inspector Joven Bahil, one of the police officers, said they learned so much from their experience in Zamboanga City and Jolo.
“Since dumating kami doon, we experienced so many things that molded us as officers of the PNP. We take part of our services, nakita namo that in time of calamities makita gyud ang mga tawo nagtinabangay gyud,” Bahil said.
“We were very much grateful to the civilian volunteers na nagbibigay sa amin ng pagkain, tubig and basang bimpo para mabasa man lang namin ang katawan namin kahit konti, kahit may giyera pa,” he added.
Bahil said they really secured their lines to spare the civilians from the burst of fires.
“We really stood our grounds to ensure the safety of the community,” he added.
As the PNP-10 regional headquarters welcomed them, regional director Catalino Rordiguez was happy to report that not one of the 120 police officers deployed were killed, save for the two who were injured.
Rodriguez said two of the 120 law enforcers were wounded from shrapnel of a rocket-propelled grenade (RPG) fired by the Moro National Liberation Front (MNLF) during the standoff between the separatist rebels and government troops last September.
“But they’re already recuperating at the hospital,” Rodriguez said but did not name the injured officers.
He said an officer was hurt in the foot while the other was hit on the knee.
PNP-10 spokesman Superintendent Michael Pareja said the officers were given a hero’s welcome at the PNP-10 regional headquarters in Camp Alagar Friday morning, which started with a thanksgiving mass and the awarding of Medalya ng Kagitingan.
The members of the elite force were also joined by high-ranking officials in Camp Alagar in a ‘boodle fight’ (sharing of meal).
Rodriguez said the officers would definitely be given days of rest as they stayed in Zamboanga City for almost two months since September 10, fighting with government soldiers against the MILF rebels.
He said the deployed officers were a great help in restoring peace and order in villages in Zamboanga City affected by the conflict.
“Mataas ang morale ng mga tao natin. Na-survive nila ang challenge at nakatulong sa stability situation sa Zamboanga City. Bibigyan natin sila ng break para makauwi sa kani-kanilang pamilya. Two months kasi hindi nila nakasama ang kanilang pamilya, walang uwi-uwi,” Rodriguez said.
He said after their deployment in Zamboanga City, the officers would be sent back to their respective provinces.
From Zambo to Sulu
Before heading home to Cagayan de Oro, the police officers were also sent to Jolo, Sulu and was appointed by the Commission on Elections (Comelec) as election tellers during the barangay Elections last October 28, Rodriguez said.
“Na-deploy din sila sa Jolo, Sulu sa mga highland municipalities kasama nila ang mga Philippine Marines. Dati ay hotspots, first time na walang failure of elections,” he added.
Pareja said despite hardship of the officers while in the area due to the unfamiliarity of the terrain, culture and dialect, but still they succeeded in helping neutralize the insurgents.
“Kada adlaw baya gyud dunay patay didto. Pero wala sa atong tropa,” Pareja said.
Published in the Sun.Star Cagayan de Oro newspaper on November 04, 2013.