On their own, SF cops return to PH for training exchange
SAN FRANCISCO — Despite absence of official support from the San Francisco Police Department (SFPD), the annual trip to the Philippines of active and retired local law enforcers to train counterparts and do community work pushed through.
For the first time under the banner of the Filipino American Law Enforcement Officers-San Francisco (FALEO-SF), the 18-member composite team of volunteer trainers from various law enforcement agencies went on its own.
The previous Philippine Exchange Training Program (PETP) in the Philippines by Filipino American police officers had been suspended so that the San Francisco Police Department would not be associated with the Duterte administration’s bloody war on drugs.
On the recent trip the FALEO team focused on teaching and guiding local youth, Bantay Bayan or barangay tanods, the Philippine National Police Academy (PNPA) as well as the National Police College (NPC) cadets and a conglomeration of various private security groups.
“Even without the blessing of the SFPD, we had a feeling of confidence in conducting this year’s exchange training program, after 17 years of fine-tuning this unique project having learned from mistakes and successes,” FALEO pioneer SFPD Lt. (ret) Eric Quema told INQUIRER.net.
“Once we met face to face with our Philippine National Police (PNP) counterparts, we had no feelings of uneasiness whatsoever despite going on with it by ourselves since our ties remained solid,” he added.
Quema also disclosed that in this year’s two-week experience, they learned that they spoke the same language as their Filipino counterparts, without the drama of politics or media hype.
“We are here to protect and serve! That is what prevailed throughout our training,” Quema explained. “And we intend to continue this program next year, as it is the one true humanitarian issue that rises above unnecessary controversy.”
He is not too optimistic that SFPD will officially rejoin them the next time, but Quema said “it would take the active and physical participation of the top command staff to see for themselves firsthand the incredible good that is being done.”
Topics covered for attendees at the PNPA and Public Safety Officers Senior Executive Course (PSOSEC) in Silang, Cavite, focused on leadership, ethics, situational management under stress during critical incidents, target hardening, situational awareness, basic life support, peer pressure.
It was also at the PNPA where they met and had lunch with Department of Interior and Local Government Secretary Ismael Sueño and PNPA cadets, among others.
Close to two hundred boxes were donated during the course of the trip, filled with school and office supplies, police gear, basic life support and health information, clothing, toys, books, police souvenirs, public safety giveaways, toothbrushes, toothpaste, mini-disaster kits, backpacks and computers.
The FALEO team also held lectures and actual training for local police officers and Bantay Bayan or Barangay Tanods–in Barangays Ususan in Taguig City, Pinyahan in Quezon City and Panghulo in Malabon City–on covered crime scene preservation, basic life support/Cardio Pulmonary Resuscitation (CPR), tactical triage, personal safety, searching and other community security related issues.
The team also paid a courtesy call tp PNP chief, Gen. Ronald “Bato” dela Rosa at Camp Crame where the latter was sworn in as a FALEO member. They had a healthy discussion and even had a boodle fight lunch later.
The team also gave a presentation-training at the Midas Hotel in Pasay City attended by some 250 officials and members of the Philippine Society for Industrial Security (PSIS).
It also held training programs for students in pre-schools, elementary and high schools in Barangays Ususan in Taguig City, Pinyahan in Quezon City and Panghulo in Malabon City. The schools were also given large volumes of material donations of new sports balls, toys, books, school supplies and computers.
Team members emphasized to students the importance of education, good citizenship, kindness, compassion and life goals, anti-bullying tips, anti-drug messages and good citizenship.
Additionally, an on-the-spot contribution from individual team members amounting to 26,000 pesos was donated to Brgy. Ususan Elementary School, Taguig City to help the barangay rebuild its school.
Team members Shaun O’Connor and Jamie Garon had a meet and greet with local folks in Bohol province, where they also conducted basic training and distributed school and other materials to children.
“The partnership with our brothers and sisters in the PNP was a resounding success and the ties that bind remain strong and intact despite both political turmoil and mainstream American media misinformation. The global law enforcement community remains focused on law, order, preservation of life, protection of property and compassion,” a FALEO statement read.