LEGAZPI CITY, Jan. 9 (PNA) -— Chief Supt. Melvin Ramon Buenafe, director of Police Regional Office (PRO) in Bicol, on Monday awarded plaques of recognition to two local fishermen and the village chief of Barangay Sogod, Tiwi town in Albay for their efforts in turning over Php 90-million worth of cocaine bricks found floating off the shores of Sogod in December last year.
Fishermen Manuel P. Comota and Russel P. Bragais and Sogod village chief Teresita Cericos were given the citations in connection with the “23rd Ethics Day” being observed today by the Philippine National Police (PNP).
The “Medalya ng Kagalingan” or PNP Merit Medal was also awarded to Sr. Supt. Antonino R. Cirujales, Albay Provincial Police Office (PPO) director, and Chief Insp. Jan King S. Calipay, chief of police of Tiwi Municipal Police Office, for their roles in the recovery of the 18 cocaine bricks.
Hundreds of police officers present at the parade grounds of Camp Gen. Simeon Ola, PRO5 headquarters, witnessed the awarding rites which were held immediately after the Monday morning flag ceremony at the camp.
Reports showed the cocaine bricks that weighed 12.176 kilograms, were found off Sogod’s shores at 10:30 a.m. on December 18.
Authorities said the recently recovered high grade cocaine bricks off Tiwi, Albay’s shores were believed part of the bigger bulk of cocaine bricks found floating off the sea of Eastern Samar sometime in 2014.
In December, PNP officials at the national headquarters in Camp Crame have recognized PRO5 as the top performing police regional office nationwide in terms of “performance level output,” particularly in the PNP’s illegal drug campaign.
The officials noted that the recovery of the cocaine bricks in Tiwi and the discovery of a clandestine shabu (methamphetamine hydrochloride) laboratory in Virac town in Catanduanes, that could produce up to 9.6 tons of shabu per month, last Nov. 26 had contributed to the exemplary performance of PRO5.
Buenafe thanked the Tiwi villagers for their courage in turning over the cocaine and their support to the PNP’s campaign against the proliferation of illegal drugs. The recovered 18 bricks of cocaine are still under the custody of the PNP Regional Crime Laboratory Office of Camp. Gen. Simeon Ola.
Five anti-narcotics lawmen from Legazpi City Police Office, Albay PPO and Provincial Intelligence Branch were also given PNP Merit Medal awards by Buenafe.
They were SPO1 Gerard A. LLadones, PO3 Eugene A. Santillan, PO2 Alfredo A.Gonzales, PO2 Roderick I. Madrid and PO1 Ariel L. Panga.
They were recognized for their accomplishments in the buy bust operation on Dec. 27 at Barangay Bigaa, Legazpi City that resulted in the confiscation of two sachets of shabu and the “neutralization” of Calixto E. Ecal, deemed as number five in the city's no.5 illegal drug watchlist.
Buenafe encouraged the Bicolanos to follow the good example shown by the fishermen and village chief in Tiwi as it will redound to the benefit of all members of the community, especially the young ones.
Meanwhile in his message on the celebration of the 23rd PNP Ethics Day, Buenafe lauded the PNP family of more than 7,500 strong police force in the region for their “unwavering and invaluable service to the Bicolanos.”
“Do away with corruption in doing your duty, follow the ethical standards of the PNP and always be reminded that the individual action represents the whole organization,” Buenafe told the Bicol police force. (PNA) LAP/GVR/JH/CBD