POLICE Regional Office (PRO)-Davao regional director Police Chief Superintendent Manuel Gaerlan is set to deliver his last command as he retires from the police service this month.
Gaerlan assumed the post as the regional director of PRO-Davao on March 31, 2016 and will officially end his term on August 16. He initiated several anti-criminality, anti-insurgency, anti-terrorism, and internal campaigns in his area of responsibility that put the Davao police in the map of best police units.
A native of Pangasinan, he recalled how his police journey began. His maternal grandfather was a soldier who died after the Death March in World War II and his brother was also a Philippine Constabulary (PC) Officer which made young Gaerlan dream to be a soldier himself.
He belonged to the Philippine Military Academy (PMA) batch 85 while his brother was PMA 84 who retired as Rear Admiral in the Philippine Navy last year.
After graduating on March 22, 1985, he initially joined the PC at that time but after it was abolished in 1991, he fell under the newly-established Philippine National Police (PNP). That was how his police journey, which lasted for 37 years, began.
“Leading and managing PRO 11 was challenging but I had more difficult time in Cebu because of the drug syndicates. Ang kalaban ko dun aside from drug personalities ay kabaro ko because of my crusade vs illegal drugs. Threat to my life was high dahil sinibak ko mga suspected drug protectors. Pati mga pulitiko sa Cebu ayaw sa akin,” he said.
Gaerlan shared that one of the challenging parts of being a police officer is the idea of being away from his family as they were forced to leave his family for the meantime to ensure the peace and order of the area of his assignment.
When he was the Deputy Regional Director for Operations (DRDO) in Central Luzon in 2013, his second daughter was hospitalized in Camp Crame but because of the call of duty, he had to leave her because they were on red alert status for the barangay election period. The following morning, his 23-year-old child passed away.
Despite all the twist and turns of his profession, the most fulfilling part of his work is when the people appreciate what we are doing for them and for the country. Just a mere thank you is enough to ease the weary they had.
After his retirement, he plans to spend and enjoy his time with his family in Quezon City and focus on their business. Should he be given an opportunity to serve another public office, he wishes that it would no longer be as demanding as the police work.
“My police service was like a journey in the sea. Sometimes the water is calm but there were also turbulent waters along the way. I had my own ups and downs in the service - na intriga, na relieve sa pwesto but eventually, it is your service reputation that will see you through,” he added.
How he wants to be remembered, he said that: Manny Gaerlan - a public servant who served his country well.