Top cop in Region 8 leads Southern Leyte unity run for clean elections
By Bong Pedalino
Maasin City (17 February) -- The newly-assigned head of the Philippine National Police (PNP) in Region 8, Leyte and Samar, has lead the way in showing that running as a physical exercise is not only good for the body -- it is also one way of spreading awareness on the need to have hope, that is, honest, orderly, and peaceful elections.
Police Chief Superintendent Rey Lanada, the PNP Regional Director, did just that before the break of daylight yesterday, or starting around 4:00 in the morning, leading a pack of runners composed of Police Officers from the various municipal, city police stations in the province and students, among other jogging enthusiasts, the participants numbering in the hundreds.
They hit the ground from the capitol sunken garden oval and jogged all the way through the city's main streets and back again where they had began, a distance of about five kilometers, in what the PNP organizers called a "Unity Run" for a smooth conduct of this year's first-ever automated polls.
After the run, and as daylight sets in, a tarpaulin the size of a regular streamer, which contains the aspirations, the detailed longing for an honest, orderly, and peaceful elections, worded in Filipino, was unfurled and signed by those who joined the fitness regimen.
Among the signatories were Atty. Antonio Gulay, the provincial Election Supervisor of the Commission on Elections (Comelec), Bishop Precioso Cantillas of the Diocese of Maasin, students, and the many Police Officers.
By about mid-morning, P/CSupt. Lanada gave a pep talk to his men, stressing that men in uniform should be non-partisan in the elections, and should strive to leave a legacy of a good name and service to the next generation.
In an interview, the PNP Regional Chief told PIA his visits to the provincial PNP headquarters in the region was his way of assessing his men to see the real situation in the field, and look after their welfare, even as he also pushed for holding the "Unity Run" wherever he went.
He expressed confidence the elections in the region will be smooth, with security in polling precincts assured, even as there were still to be confirmed reports of sightings of armed groups.
PNP Provincial Director Supt. Pepito Pacada echoed the same view, saying the elections in the province will be orderly and peaceful as well, with no serious threat to security observed thus far. (PIA-Southern Leyte) [top]