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Social worker, computer genius, lawyer-strategist: The many hats of today’s police heroes

2019 Metrobank Foundation Outstanding Filipino Award for Police Officers
Social worker, computer genius, lawyer-strategist: The many hats of today’s police heroes

By May Dedicatoria

Ask a young Filipino chap on what he wants to become when he grows up, and he might answer with conviction: “a police.” Young or old, every Filipino feels the need to improve the strength of the uniformed personnel. The Philippine National Police (PNP) even eyes a 1:489 police-to-population ratio by 2022. But more than increasing police visibility, everyone hopes to see all police officers putting their best foot forward — exhibiting leadership, professionalism and excellence.

The annual Metrobank Foundation Outstanding Filipinos is one with the community in recognizing exemplary servants from the police sector. For 2019, it honors three police officers, namely, Police Chief Master Sergeant Marsha Agustin, RSW, investigator, Women and Children Protection Center, Philippine National Police (PNP) Headquarters, Camp Crame (Quezon City); Police Major Robert Reyes, technical support officer, Counter Intelligence Task Force, PNP Headquarters; and Police Colonel Edwin Quilates, provincial director, Batangas Police Provincial Office, Camp Miguel C. Malvar (Batangas City).

Camp Crame’s Anti-Human Trafficking Crusader

After Agustin graduated with a degree in Social Work at Saint Paul University in Tuguegarao City, she wished to land on a job that saves lives. Little did she know that she would enter the PNP, which opened the door to realize her vision.

“As a police officer, it is fulfilling to bring justice to every victim and help them recover to their normal life. It is not just the responsibility of a police officer to respond to the criminal concerns of clients, but to ensure that their welfare is of paramount consideration,” shares Agustin, who is a doting mother of two.

Through her leadership, the Women and Children Protection Center of Camp Crame adopted the Social Worker-Police Investigative Technique in Handling Cases Involving Women and Children Victims, an interviewing technique that recognizes the needed age- and gender-sensitive approach.

Agustin also co-authored the Standard Operating Procedures (SOP) Manual being widely used by the PNP when handling Trafficking in Persons cases. The project aligns with the new provisions of the Republic Act No. 10364 known as the “Expanded Anti-Trafficking in Persons Act.”

PNP’s Premier Cyber Cop

Reyes also chose to merge crime prevention with another specialization that’s also close to his heart — computer science. Being a police officer was his childhood dream, but his mother did not allow him, for fear of the profession’s risk and danger.

His career accomplishments trace back to his being a pioneer of the Philippine National Police’s (PNP) Anti-Cybercrime Group in 2013, born out of the Republic Act 10175 “Cybercrime Prevention Act of 2012.” In this capacity, he helped develop the unit’s operational and administrative manual outlining the guidelines or protocols for cybercrime investigation, which is now being used in the training and learning sessions of Reyes has also led over 20 police operations as well as investigated more than 100 cybercrime cases.

Prior to the group’s formation, his expertise was key to the arrest of a notorious outlaw considered the No. 1 hacker in Korea by the Korean National Police Agency in 2011 and was included in Interpol’s Wanted List. The immediate identity and apprehension of the suspect during that period was urgent due to the bulk of information and customer database he has stolen from a prominent financial service company.

“My main source of fulfillment as a police officer is the appreciation of the people, who I rendered services and people who I worked with. It is truly fulfilling to receive even a simple gesture of gratitude every time I do something, though I am not waiting for any of it, since what I am doing is my job,” he shares.

Batangas’ Vanguard of Public Safety

Batangas Police provincial director Edwin Quilates wants to be remembered as a police officer with the motto, “Para sa bayan.” And his 25 years in service is more than enough to showcase his strong passion to his duty as a public servant, going against big personalities in campaigns against illegal drugs and terrorism.

“Most of my experiences seem to adopt a parallelism in the famous quote of FPJ, ‘Huwag niyo kaming bibigyan ng kahit katiting na lead dahil kahit butas ng karayom, papasukin namin’,” says the real-life Da King, who is also a practicing lawyer. “Every time we make an operation successful, it gives peace in our minds that we are another step closer to a peaceful nation.”

Quilates triggered the launch of Oplan Iron Curtain, which is hailed as “best practice” and key to the successful arrests of notorious criminals, resulting to lower crime rate in the province and in the entire CALABARZON region.

He also initiated Agapay Kabayan, a community extension program benefiting over 7,000 residents in Batangas City; Oplan Balik Armas, which has been adopted by CALABARZON to effectively prevent illegal use of firearms; and Simula ng Pag-asa (SIPAG) Program, which focuses rehabilitating surrenderees.

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