Badge Of Honor
What’s the first thing that comes to mind when you see an officer of the Philippine National Police (PNP) on the street? We can suppose that words like “integrity”, “honesty”, even “patriotism” don’t resonate, despite what the mere sight of their uniforms should suggest. Because truth be told, their reputation as an organization—from top to bottom—is as tainted as they come.
Many of their exploits have become warning signs and every so often you’ll see it on the news, learn about it through social media, or even hear some of the worst stories via your family and friends. It comes as no surprise that many of us subscribe to the stereotype and believe that those who wear the badge are simply frauds do not stand for the flag, the country, and most especially, its people.
However, to perpetuate this way of thinking is to breed prejudice, cynicism, and even ignorance—all of which lead to nothing ever positive in life. While there are some who don’t respect the power nor value the trust that our country men and women have put on them, certainly not all members of the PNP fit the said bill. Just ask the men and women who are taking part of the PNP’s Public Safety Field Training Program (FTP) this year and whose idea of making a difference is by earning the right to be called enforcers of the land’s law.
It is them who would tell you that leading a life of making our country’s forefathers and mothers proud is rooted in certain ideals that many say is lost in the PNP—two of which are responsibility and accountability. PSI Maricris Suarez would be the first to tell you that this is so. “Kung gusto natin maging maganda ang lipunan na ginagalawan natin ngayon at ng mga unborn generations sa hinaharap, kailangan tayo mismo ang kumilos at ipakita natin kung gaano natin kamahal ang ating bansang Pilipinas.” Ever since childhood, she always wanted to become a lawyer and a policewoman. By completing the program, Atty. Suarez has achieved the life’s goals she has set ever since she was a little girl.
In most ways, love for country has always been inherent to many of us. But then again, this is something that cannot just rest on the shoulders of a specific group of people, because everyone is supposed to chip in—no exceptions. In fact, you should give back as best as you can. To put things into better perspective, we can also look up to someone like PSI Edwina Malonzo—one of sixteen dental officers under the FTP— who views public service, whether its welcoming patients to her clinic or sharing her medical expertise when need be, as a calling where she finds her own sense of fulfilment. She’s followed after the footsteps of her mother, a government nurse, and has allowed it to even so define her meaning and purpose in life. “Yuong pagiging successful po, hindi naman siya lagi nababase sa pera, kung hindi sa self-satisfaction [na maglingkod sa bayan], iyon ang natutunan ko sa nanay ko.”
PSI Rey Ibanez couldn’t agree more to this—especially for him as he upholds both nationalistic pride and Christian faith. “Ang buhay ng pari talaga ay para sa tao. You cannot do away with it, wala naming pari laging nakakulong sa kumbento,” he explains. As one of the three priests in the program, he has truly more than lived up to the organization’s motto: “To serve and to protect.”
So, before we conveniently pass judgement and easily fall into our usual way frame of mind when it comes to all members of the PNP, have a moment, take a look at yourself, and ask yourself this: “What have I done for the country lately?” After all, where’s the honor in simply sticking to our biases?