Issue of December 8, 2019
     
NEWS
Benguet
 
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Benguet cops start Yuletide season w/ outreach activities
by Jane B. Cadalig

SANTA COPS -- The Benguet Police Provincial Office led by Col. Elmer Ragay set the Christmas spirit at the Jose F. Opiles Elementary School in Barangay Tinongdan, Itogon by sharing gifts and providing fun and entertainment to the pupils and teachers who expressed their gratitude to the uniformed personnel for reaching out to them. -- Jane Cadalig

The Benguet Provincial Police Office (BPPO) has set the Yuletide mood by reaching out to far-flung communities in the province to share gifts and provide entertainment to children.

One of the initial beneficiaries of the BPPO outreach and gift-giving program is the Jose F. Opiles Elementary School (JFOES) at Barangay Tinongdan, Itogon, a home to 96 kids and eight educators.

BPPO Director, Col. Elmer E. Ragay, said the outreach was conceptualized as early as September as his office’s way of giving back to the community.

To make it happen, the BPPO initiated an invitational shoot fest that became part of the Adivay Festival activities in November. Part of the event’s proceeds was used to purchase the presents that were distributed during the program.

“As promised, whatever is raised from the event will be given back to the community,” he said.

Ragay said reaching out to the school was a consensus among the staff members of BPPO, a decision that was driven by their desire to bring the men and women in uniform closer to the people, especially in far-flung areas. JFOES is located at Sitio Petican, Tinongdan, one of the remote villages of Itogon.

“Let the uniform not be a barrier for us to be closer,” Ragay told the beneficiaries in his message, explaining that the enhanced police presence in the communities is one of the means by which the Philippine National Police could connect more with the people.

Rowena Dalmacio, one of the teachers at JFOES, expressed the school’s gratitude to the local police. She said it was the first time that the school was visited by the PNP.

“We were surprised, but at the same time grateful that we have been chosen as the beneficiary of the program,” she said.

Tinongdan Barangay Council Member Urbano Pedro shared this view and asked the teachers and some of the parents present during the program to stop using the police as a scare tactic for children who misbehave.

While grateful for the corporate entities who visit the school to distribute presents, Urbano said the activities done by the private firms are not as interactive as the one initiated by the BPPO.

Rosalina Beguis, a member of the Barangay Peacekeeping Action Team, also lauded the BPPO for reaching out to the school and expressed hopes that other government agencies will also do the same.

She said the joy brought by the activity to the school children is immeasurable.

Maricar Dintan, one of the pupils, said aside from the material gifts, the outreach has helped kids like her to appreciate the police better.

She said police have been visiting the school to conduct lectures, such as topics on anti-bullying, but this was the first time they received presents from uniformed personnel and were treated to fun and entertainment.

She also asked children to not be aloof of uniformed personnel. “We should not be afraid of the police because they are the ones helping and protecting us,” the 11-year-old vice president of the Supreme Student Government, said.

The BPPO will conduct similar activity in a remote village in another municipality next week.

The different municipal police stations have also conducted similar gift-sharing to various sectors and communities within their areas of jurisdiction.


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