IN PHOTOS: A homecoming for the PNP Academy's Lakans, Lakambinis
CAVITE, Philippines – Alumni of the Philippine National Police Academy (PNPA) reunited with both old and new schoolmates on Saturday, March 9, coming together to greet a place they once called home – Camp Marcelo Castañeda.
Lakans and Lakambinis – what PNPA alumni call themselves – entered the gates of the academy proudly wearing their batch attires. Family and memories in tow, the men and women marched through the field once more for their PNPA alumni homecoming.
The event started with the yearly tradition of a wreath-laying ceremony, where they paid tribute to their fallen brothers and sisters. On the fields of the premier academy where they learned to be cops, firefighters, and jail wardens, the alumni remembered 8 of their companions who died in action the past year.
After commemorative shots were fired and prayers said, the alumni grouped themselves according to their batches. They took class reunion photos, exchanged jokes, hugs, and handshakes.
Though they were on what is considered “hallowed grounds,” the past week’s events were not lost on their superiors who once again brought up the issue of erring or “scalawag” cops. The 2019 homecoming comes after a challenging week for the police force, which saw over 40 commissioned and non-commissioned police officers sacked for alleged extortion.
Guest of honor and speaker National Police Commission Vice Chairman Rogelio Casurao described the issue as only one of the many “battles” the Philippine National Police was facing. He lumped the issue with other efforts he described as challenges to peace and order in the country: breakdown of peace talks with leftist groups, terrorism, and the anti-illegal drugs campaign.
Despite this, Casurao said the PNP “sympathized” with Metro Manila police chief Director Guillermo Eleazar. He said Eleazar’s outburst at one of these erring cops was understood in the context of “extreme frustration” over corrupt members among its ranks.
“Notwithstanding the reaction of the commission on human rights, we would only sympathize with NCRPO regional director Eleazar's reaction in the case of a senior police officer caught and flagrantly linked to extorting from a drug suspected, arrested in a buy-bust operation, whom he berated,” he added.
Casurao urged the academy’s graduates and cadets to reflect on the ideals they strived for when they chose to enter into public service: justice, integrity, and service.
"For the Philipine National Police to successfully attain its vision and strategic objectives, a critical and continuing self evaluation of the PNP organization and the men and women composing it is highly in order," he said.
After his speech, the PNPA welcomed to its ranks adopted alumni. This year’s ceremony saw Eleazar attend the homecoming as an honorary member for PNPA Class of 1989.
The alumni then assembled for the much-awaited trooping the line tradition, where all PNPA classes were represented as they marched in a parade around the field of Camp Castañeda.
While the program ended with the parade, alumni spent the rest of the day in the company of their fellow classmates. It is the one day in the year when cops, firefighters, and jail officers take a break from the challenge of their jobs to return home to where their careers began. – Rappler.com