by Rommel Conclara, ABS-CBN News
DALY CITY, CA — Last October, amid the controversy of Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte’s war on drugs, the San Francisco police department ended its 16-year relationship with the Philippine National Police.
However, that did not stop the Filipino American Law Enforcement Officer association, or FALEO, from continuing the joint partnership.
Fil-Am retired SFPD Lieutenant Eric Quema led 19 police officers on a two-week trip to the Philippines, meeting with PNP Chief Ronald “Bato” Dela Rosa to ensure that the program was going to continue with respect to the SFPD’s decision.
“He asked if it was true, that we were abandoning or not doing the program anymore. I had to clarify officially that the SFPD is no longer the hosting agency, with all the other agencies that go with us: BART, California Department of Justice, and all that,” said Quema. “But the bottom line is, I told them we are committed to improving the relationship and keeping the bridge we formed solid.”
Travel expenses to the motherland were self funded by the officers.
Wile in the Philippines, FALEO members worked with PNP with basic life support methods, preservation of crime scenes, CPR courses, and other police tactics.
Through solicitation, donations, and through the pockets of FALEO members — police equipment like helmets and other tactical items were given to the PNP.
According to Quema, the police equipment was valued at tens of thousands of dollars.
“We felt that we had to give this to them because it protects their lives. In fact, two people came up to us, saying that some vest we donated to them in the past saved their lives in a shoot out,” he said. “Nothing to do with an controversy. This is universal police gear, used all over the world.”
FALEO also donated clothes and school supplies to needy children in the Philippines.
“When we brought [supplies] there to the teachers and students… it brought them joy, hope, and an understanding that the National Police and the police in America have not forgotten them, and we continue work on their behalf,” Quema said.
According to Quema, FALEO is already collecting funds towards more police accessories and school supplies to give needy Filipinos for next year’s trip.
They also plan an adopt-a-family program, to help the loved ones left behind of the fallen SAF 44.
Quema says it is part of FALEO’s mission to make sure no police officer, nor their families, are left behind.