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Monday, April 15, 2024

Well-deserved extension for Acorda

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“The promotions of many police officers…which the PNP chief laboriously fought for, also boosted the morale of the entire police force”

President Ferdinand R. Marcos Jr. has made a wise decision by extending the service term of PNP chief Gen. Benjamin Acorda Jr. until March 31, 2024.

This reflects Marcos’ desire for continuity while there are threats to national security.

Mr. Marcos couldn’t have made a better decision, since the “top cop” fits the bill.

He is responsible for preserving peace and order, helping neutralize threats to national security, holding big-time syndicates at bay, pursuing the internal purge of PNP and leading an active role in the United Nations’ peacekeeping missions.

I’ve known him to be a man of integrity, honor, and valor — qualities that have earned him the continued trust and confidence of the President.

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Now, the commander-in-chief entrusts the PMA Class 1991 graduate with an extended term to oversee the organization of 224,000 personnel.

The PNP is mandated to serve and protect the citizenry, being the first line of defense against criminals and this is definitely a tall order for Acorda.

He said at the Traditional Lighting of Lanterns and Christmas Tree at Camp Crame he is neither brilliant nor pretentious, adding his accomplishments speak for him.

Acorda refurbished the PNP image, as shown by its 84 percent acceptance rating, one of the highest ratings in the Marcos Cabinet.

The promotions of many police officers by President BBM, which the PNP chief laboriously fought for, also boosted the morale of the entire police force.

While some recidivists and scalawags continue to give the PNP a bad name, the continuing internal cleansing can be added to Acorda’s “unfinished” business.

After all, Acorda is in familiar territory, having briefly commanded the PNP Integrity Monitoring and Enforcement Group that went after rogue cops.

Acorda tried to follow in the career path of his “idol,” the late Gen. Leandro “Larry” Mendoza to whom he was aide-de-camp for five years.

Both separately acted as head of the PNP directorate for intelligence before they reached the top of the PNP totem pole, with Acorda becoming the 29th chief of the National Police.

Many of his peers describe Acorda as the quintessential officer and gentleman. His friends and men refer to him as a “humble public servant.”

He was born and raised in Ilocos Norte by parents who had instilled in him the values of patriotism and genuine public service.

From PMA, Acorda’s career journey began soon after he enlisted with the PNP and was assigned as police station chief of several towns of Pangasinan such as Balungao, Sison, Bolinao and Sual.

Since then, action and promotion chased him.

Acorda was among pioneering officers who formed the PNP Anti-Cybercrime Group, gaining recognition from China and Taiwan for launching a major offensive in the country that led to the arrest of hundreds of Chinese and Taiwanese nationals engaged in cybercrimes.

His service included stints with the United Nations as a member of the Blue Helmets or police officers who were deployed twice or more representing the Philippine contingent to the UN peacekeeping missions.

My friendship with Gen. Acorda goes back to 1993 when we worked together under then Pangasinan provincial director Col. Amado T. Espino Jr.

Then a lieutenant, he and I teamed up for some special projects like the Lingayen Gulf War – a crusade to save the endangered gulf — Pista’y Dayat, 1995 Palarong Pambansa, and flagship projects like the Sual Coal Power Plant and the San Roque Multi-Purpose Dam.

Thirty years after, we would team up again with Gen. Reynaldo V. Velasco for the book project on the late PNP chief Mendoza.

When he took over the helm on April 4, 2023, he anchored his leadership on five-focused agenda for a better and more effective police force: 1) Personnel Morale and Welfare; 2) Community Engagement; 3) Integrity Enhancement; 4) ICT Development; and, 5) Honest Law Enforcement Operations.

His notable feats as PNP chief include the drop by 8.24 of index crime volume based on the Crime Information Reporting and Analysis System.

From Jan. 1 to Oct. 31, 2023, there were only 34,908 recorded cases and these dropped to 2,877 cases or 8.24 percent compared to the same period last year.

The PNP also tackled “8 focus crimes” like murder, homicide, physical injury, robbery, theft, rape, car and motor theft. As a result, focus crimes dropped by 8.18 percent, from 34,702 cases in 2022 to only 31,864 in 2023.

(The author is president and executive director of the Million Trees Foundation Inc., a non-profit group advocating tree planting and watershed protection. He is also a book writer and publisher of biographical and coffee table books.)

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