Aquino to new cops: Country above self, protect May ballot‬

‪CAVITE, Philippines – In his ‬final ‪speech as Chief Executive before  the Philippine National Police Academy (PNPA), President Benigno Aquino III challenged the Class of 2016 – and all uniformed men and women – to shun temptation and put country above self especially in the coming elections.‬

"Alam naman po natin, sa Mayo, halalan na naman. Para sa unipormadong hanay, panahon ito ng iba’t ibang tukso….Kung pinapili kayo: bayan o sarili, alin ang uunahin ninyo?" he asked Class Masundayaw at the PNPA commencement exercises on Thursday, March 10.

(We all know that in May, we will again have elections. For those in the uniformed service, it will be a time for different forms of temptation….If you're asked to choose: country or self, what will you put first?)

His marching orders to the new cops: "Siguruhing ligtas, mapayapa, at tunay na sasalamin sa pasya ng ating mga Boss ang ating eleksyon (Ensure safe, peaceful, and honest elections that would truly reflect the choice of our bosses)."

Daang Matuwid

Aquino narrated‪ the reforms and improvements in the Philippine National Police, the Bureau of Jail Management, and the Bureau of Fire Protection – where the new cops are headed – during his term.‬

He added: "Bilang mga bagong pulis at kasapi ng ating unipormadong serbisyo, nasa balikat po ninyo ang responsibilidad ng pagtutuloy ng mga tagumpay na ito. Ang sabi nga po natin: Simula pa lang ito, kaya huwag sana ninyong sayangin ang pinaghirapan ng mga nauna sa inyo."

(As new police police officers and members of the uniformed service, you bear the responsibility of sustaining this success. As we've been saying: This is just the beginning, so please don't waste what your predecessors had worked so hard for.)

He said that prior to his term, the primary protectors of the state were victims of neglect but reforms instituted by his administration under Daang Matuwid  had made that a "thing of the past." Now, he said, the protectors are also among those protected by the state.

In urging the the young officers to help keep the country in a better state than when they first entered the academy in 2012, the President harped on the importance of continuity – the ruling party's election battle cry – stopping short of campaigning for his 2016 anointed bets.‬ (READ: Can 'Daang Matuwid' win a Philippine election?)

While he mentioned administration standard-bearer Manuel "Mar" Roxas II, it was in the context of contributions made by his interior chiefs, beginning with the late Jesse Robredo Jr, Roxas, and now, Mel Senen Sarmiento.

In front of guests like Vice President Jejomar Binay, the opposition United Nationalist Alliance (UNA) standard bearer, ‬Aquino sought to illustrate how much his brand of governance had helped improved the uniformed service in terms of hardware, training, and benefits; and social services as well.

The President said this was done without raising taxes and sacrificing the needs of other sectors, especially the poor. He added that increased funds for his administration's flagship anti-poverty program, the Pantawid Pamilyang Pilipino Program, helped yank out 7.7 million Filipinos from poverty. –