PRESIDENT Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo thanked the Philippine National Police (PNP) for standing by her side despite the challenges to her nine-year rule.

The President also nd vowed to turn over a “new Philippines” to the next government after the 2010 elections.

“Let me point out also my gratitude that in quelling the attempts of revolutionary conspiracies to subvert constitutional authority always, you stood by the Constitution, and you did it without having to resort to force,” said Arroyo, during the 19th anniversary of the PNP at Camp Crame.

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That would be Arroyo’s last time to attend the PNP anniversary as president because she will be stepping down from office on June 30. However, she is running for congresswoman in the second district of Pampanga.

Arroyo said she did not seek the presidency in 2001 but “it was thrust upon me” with the PNP playing a central role in Edsa 2.

“Together with you, I rolled up my sleeves, determined to turn the Philippines around. Together with you, I focused as a laser beam on delivering real results to better the lives of ordinary Filipinos,” she said.

She said the PNP conducted professionally in handling various “coup attempts, mass actions and other politically motivated activities.”

She lauded the police “for demonstrating more temperance compared to the past even in the face of provocation.”

Arroyo said much work remains to be done but she is determined to turn over to her successor a new government on the verge of First World in 20 years and with a modern and professional police force.

She urged them to continue bringing honor to the organization through their continued good service.

She cited the PNP’s high approval rating of 57 percent, which she said is a “thank-you” from the people of the Philippines.

Arroyo also lauded the PNP for playing a large role in the fight against global terrorism through intelligence gathering and sharing.

She likewise congratulated the PNP for its campaign against loose firearms, adding she already certified the necessity of immediately enacting a bill enforcing stiffer penalties on illegal firearms and light weapons.

She feted the PNP and the Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) for their cooperation in keeping the peace in Maguindanao following a massacre there last November 23.

She noted that in the ensuing declaration of martial law in Maguindanao, the PNP and AFP deserve congratulations after they showed good rapport. (JMR/Sunnex)