NEGROS Occidental Governor Alfredo Marañon Jr. told policemen in Negros Island Region (NIR) to “police their own ranks” following the issues on uniformed men involved in illegal drugs.

Marañon issued the challenge during the 26th Foundation Day celebration of the Philippine National Police (PNP) at Camp Alfredo Montelibano Sr. in Bacolod City Monday.

He said police forces are doing their best to attain progress and peace in the region but sometimes the image of the PNP is affected by some of its members.

More than 40 “narco-policemen” in the region were relieved after they were identified by the region’s top drug suspect Ricky Serenio to be receiving drug money.

“Your role in the task of nation-building is very vital and crucial because no investors, financiers, and developers will come if we are perceived to be a place which is dangerous,” Marañon said.

He also pointed out that the ideal ratio of policemen to the number of population is one is to 500, however, because of insufficiency of personnel, the ratio now is only one is to 2,000.

“There is a big difference, but despite the shortcomings, you all have done a good job,” Marañon said as he cited the reduction of crimes last year.

He added: “We are much more peaceful than in other places in the Philippines.”

The governor expressed his gratitude to the policemen for their continued efforts in improving the peace and order situation in the region.

Senior Superintendent William Señoron, acting director of Negros Occidental Provincial Police Office (Nocppo), said the statement of the governor is a challenge to the policemen.

Señoron said they are continuously intensifying their monitoring against drug pushers and users in the province despite the temporary stoppage of the police's anti-illegal drug campaign.

9 cops get medals

In Monday’s rites eight commissioned officers and a non-commissioned officer under the Police Regional Office (PRO)-18 were awarded the Medalya ng Kagalingan (Medal of Merit) and Medalya ang Kasanayan (Efficiency Medal).

Also present were Chief Superintendent Leonardo Cesneros, deputy regional director for administration of PRO-18 and former Bacolod mayor Luzviminda Valdez.

Awarded Medals of Merit were Senior Inspector Romel Luga, chief of Bacong Municipal Police Station; and Superintendent Jovito Atanacio, chief of Dumaguete City Police Station, both under Negros Oriental Provincial Police Office (Norppo); Superintendent Willy Diel, chief of Silay City Police Station; Superintendent Antonietto Cañete, former chief of Himamaylan City Police Station; and Senior Inspector John Ganzon, former head of Police Station 4, all under Negros Occidental Provincial Police Office (Nocppo); and Chief Inspector Jovil Sedel, head of Police Station 6 under Bacolod City Police Office (BCPO).

The said policemen were recognized for their accomplishments in the anti-illegal drugs campaign that led to the arrest of top drug suspects and recovery of big volume of illegal drugs.

Awarded PNP Efficiency Medals were Superintendent Roberto Lingbawan, previously head of Regional Special Operations Task Group (RSOTG); Senior Superintendent Melchor Coronel, chief of Regional Investigation and Detection Management Division (RIDMD); and Police Officer 3 Darlene Catacutan, spokesperson of Norppo.

These policemen were commended for the successful anti-illegal drug campaign, conduct of numerous investigation trainings, and for passing the 2015 Bar Examinations, respectively.

Cesneros, in his speech, said the police will continue to be vibrant, dynamic, and ready to serve and protect the people of Negros with the reduction of crime volume to nine percent, increased of crime clearance, and crime solution by .28 percent and .36 percent, respectively, based on the last year’s data.