Bacolod Mayor Evelio Leonardia expressed his elation yesterday that for the first time, the highest-ranking Philippine National Police official has set foot at the Bacolod City Government Center.
“This is an honor and, for the record, this is the first time ever that an incumbent PNP chief visited the Bacolod City Government Center,” Leonardia said after seeing off Police General Guillermo Lorenzo Eleazar, who called on him yesterday.
Leonardia and Vice Mayor El Cid Familiaran received Eleazar at the steps of the BCGC, where they were joined by other PNP officers and local government executives.
Leonardia said he discussed with Eleazar the need for police visibility in Bacolod, especially at this time of pandemic.
“One of the main issues that I relayed to him (Eleazar) and Colonel (Thomas Joseph) Martir, is that police visibility is very important, especially that there is still a surge in COVID-19 cases,” Leonardia said.
“We need to strictly implement basic health protocols here,” the mayor added.
Leonardia said he also assured Eleazar of the continued support of the city government to the local police.
The mayor disclosed that the LGU will add at least 12 service vehicles for use of the BCPO.
Eleazar said he paid a call on Leonardia to personally thank him for his help to the BCPO.
“I am also giving my commitment to the mayor that the police is here to make good connections with our LGU in line with our service to the people,” the PNP chief said.
Eleazar shared that before he visited the BCPO Headquarters and the Government Center, he first inspected one of the police stations in the city.
“I saw that the station was neat inside and out. This reflects on the discipline of our police, which we know will be appreciated by our citizens. We also awarded some of our policemen at the BCPO and other stakeholders for their continued support to us,” he added.
Eleazar was accompanied by other PNP officials including Police Lt. Gen. Bernabe Balba, directorate for Integrated Police Operations- Visayas; Police Major General Bartolome Bustamante, directorate for Police Community Operations; Police Brig. General Rolando Miranda, regional director of Police Regional Office-6; Police Col. Thomas Joseph Martir, acting Bacolod City Police Office director; Police Col. Gregory Bogñabal, senior executive assistant to PNP chief; and Police Col. Roderick Augustus Alba, chief of the PNP Public Information Office, who is a Bacolodnon.
Eleazar said he gave guidance to Martir, also a Bacolodnon, to “continue the programs of previous BCPO directors, maintain good relationship with the different stakeholders, and make sure to avoid violence or crimes especially that election is near.”
The PNP top brass said he has given directives to Martir “to study the peculiarity of various communities and the dynamics of politics.”
“We also gave a directive to review past violent incidents and see if there are private armed groups operating here. We also make sure that candidates will not be able to raise (election) funds through the use of illegal means like illegal gambling, illegal logging, and any illegal activities including extortion,” the PNP chief continued.
On the appointment of Martir as acting BCPO director, Leonardia said: “I believe we can be more coordinated since he is from here. I am happy because he knows the culture and terrain here.”
“In that sense, he can hit the ground running immediately. No need for any adjustment period. I saw his record and he is multi-awarded. I am sure we are in good hands,” Leonardia said.
Joining the mayor in welcoming the PNP executives were Secretary to the Mayor Edward Joseph Cuansing, City Legal Officer Joselito Bayatan, and executive assistants George Zulueta, Celestino Guara, Moises Dela Cruz, and Marivic Canada.
Also present were Grupo Progreso members Jonathan Diaz, Ed Guillem, and Cashmere Montalvo.*