New Iloilo police chief vows ‘to rebuild community’s lost trust and confidence’

By Jennifer P. Rendon

Just like other field commanders, the new Iloilo Police Provincial Office (IPPO) director will also focus on anti-criminality efforts during his stint.

In his words, Colonel Ronaldo Palomo said that he “will enhance the police intervention and legal operations against all forms of illegal activities – illegal drugs, illegal gambling, illegal fishing, and mining.”

“That was the directive of our governor (Arthur Defensor, Jr.) as I [made a courtesy] call to him in his office,” he said during the press conference.

On top of that, Palomo also delivered what appeared to be a motherhood statement, which is to “rebuild the trust and confidence of the community towards the PNP by working in partnership with the community, the media, the local government unit, and the non-governmental organizations.”

When he was later asked at what point did the police lose the public’s trust and confidence, Palomo said that it did not.

“The trust and the confidence of the Ilonggos are there. Ang sa akon lang, we have to rebuild again kay nakita ko lang abi sa mga comments, sa mga posts, that there are some others nga naga post sa social media negative against the PNP. So, amo lang gid na,” he said.

When Paloma was again asked to expound what are these particular posts on social media, he said that he read comments claiming that “we don’t have trust and confidence in the PNP anymore.”

This social media comment, Palomo claimed, allegedly triggered his statement about rebuilding the trust and confidence of the Ilonggo people in the police.

But as to the specific steps that he will take to achieve it, the new police chief has yet to elaborate.

But Palomo’s thrust about rebuilding trust and confidence might run counter to a press statement released by the Police Regional Office (PRO) 6 a month ago.

In a press release, PRO-6 noted that police in Western Visayas received a high satisfaction rating, as far as their performance for 2022 is concerned.

In a web-based online survey conducted by the PRO-6’s Regional Community Affairs and Development Division (RCADD), PRO-6 got almost similar results to the surveys conducted for the 1st and second semesters of 2022.

For the second semester survey, PRO-6 got an average rating of 4.772 out of 5 from the five measured parameters.

The highest rating was on Respect Index at 4.82 while Safety Index was rated at 4.78; Trust Index at 4.78; Impact of Police-Community Initiated Activities at 4.74; and Effectiveness of Information Operation Activities at 4.74.

For the second semester online survey, there were 22,794 respondents with ages ranging from 10 to 60 years old and above and coming from different sex, educational attainment, employment and status in life.

In a similar survey conducted in 2016, PRO-6 only got a satisfactory rating.

PRO-6 also plans to commission a third-party survey entity in a bid to affirm the results and to continuously monitor the “Very Satisfied” community response towards the police in Western Visayas. The 2023 BSKE, set on October 30, is the latest postponement in the village and youth councils’ polls, after a law was passed to postpone them to 2023 citing the pandemic and ongoing economic woes.