PPCPO Director Colonel Ronie Bacuel. (Photo courtesy of PPCPO FB page)

The Puerto Princesa City Police Office reported its accomplishments during the media forum held yesterday, March 27, highlighting their achievements from March 9, 2023, to the present.

Among these accomplishments were enforcement operations resulting in numerous arrests for various law violations and the awards the unit received.

Since March 2023, under the leadership of Police Colonel Ronnie Bacuel, who assumed the role of Puerto Princesa City Police Office (PPCPO) director, the city police office has recorded 116 arrests in 485 illegal gambling operations, seizing a total of ₱56,062.

In the campaign against illegal drugs, the PPCPO conducted 363 drug operations, resulting in the arrest of 91 individuals. They confiscated 286.7381 grams of shabu and 70.265 grams of marijuana.

Within the period, 263 individuals with warrants of arrest for various cases were apprehended, with 74 falling under the category of most wanted persons (MWPs).

The PPCPO conducted 75 operations against illegal logging, leading to the arrest of two suspects. They also seized 1,652.5 board feet of lumber valued at ₱194,447.50.

Through their Oplan Katok, the PPCPO visited 1,862 gun holders in the city, resulting in the surrender of 153 firearms for safekeeping. Additionally, 16 individuals were arrested in separate police operations, with 20 firearms confiscated and surrendered.

Thirteen individuals were arrested in seven separate police operations regarding smuggled cigarettes, with an estimated market value of ₱42,638,924.80.

The city police also apprehended 9,577 violators for various offenses against local ordinances, including traffic violations, public drinking, indecent exposure, and curfew violations. A total of ₱4,364,515.00 was collected as penalties for these violations.

According to PPCPO data, the crime rate in March 2024 decreased compared to March 2023, with 608 crimes recorded this year compared to 618 in the previous year.

In their intensified campaign against insurgency and terrorism, five individuals voluntarily surrendered, and several weapons were surrendered.

Under Bacuel’s leadership, Puerto Princesa City was declared insurgency-free in June 2023. Three additional police stations were established, and the PPCPO ranked first in the Police Regional Office Mimaropa Unit Evaluation Rating.

Although these achievements are commendable, Bacuel said the PPCPO continues to encounter challenges, notably in tackling property crimes and enhancing police presence in remote barangays to curb criminal activities.

“We are still trying our best, na masolusyunan ito. Halos every week nag rere-shuffle kami, mayroon kaming mapa uniform, mapa sibilyan na umiikot ikot sa mga barangay. Kaso lang may mga nangyayari pa ring mga nakawan,” he said.

He said that while many theft incidents lead to arrests, a substantial number of suspects remain unprosecuted.

Complicating matters further, some of these are minors, which poses challenges in initiating legal proceedings against them.

“May mga incident din na nahuhuli ng mga police stations, ang problema natin dito, sa parte ng mga victim na kapag na recover na nila ang mga  nanakaw sa kanilla, ayaw na nilang mag-file ng kaso. Ang ibang nahuhuli naman ay mga minor na mahirap din na sampahan agad ng kaso,” Bacuel added.

Another current challenge for the PPCPO is enhancing police visibility in the city to prevent crime.

He said that with 66 barangays in Puerto Princesa, monitoring them poses difficulties. However, the establishment of three new police stations in the barangays of San Rafael, Macarascas, and Luzviminda is expected to address this challenge.

“Our main challenge is also kung paano namin palakasin yong police visibility for crime prevention. At the same time, yong inter-agency collaboration, kasi nga with the current strength ng ating kapulisan, with 66 barangays, malawak yong ating area of responsibility,” he said.

“Advantage lang ngayon, meron ng police station—naka kalat na—mas malapit na. Dati kasi [Police] Station 1, rumeresponde ng Langogan, pagdating doon wala ng naabutan kasi nasa ospital na o naiuwi na sa bahay,” he added.

His aim is to address these challenges in the PPCPO this year.

Under Bacuel’s leadership, the PPCPO has been the recipient of numerous awards, including Best City Police Office, Best PCO for Administration, Outstanding City Police Office of the Year in Police Community Relations, Best City Mobile Force Company, Highest Rating on Crime Clearance Efficiency, and Highest Number of Criminal Gang Members Neutralized.