DAVAO CITY, Philippines – Newly appointed Metro Davao Police District (MDPD) Director Brigadier General Alexander Tagum says he is willing to heed the call of Interior Secretary Benhur Abalos that all police generals will resign in connection to the government’s campaign against illegal drugs.
Tagum said on Wednesday during the AFP-PNP press conference that he is open to “respectfully following orders” from any senior official of the government.
“We are here under their discretion and we follow orders. Kung ano po ang binigay sa amin na kautosan ng taas (Whatever orders that come from the higher ups) then as a dutiful police officer we will follow order,” said Tagum.
Abalos made the announcement during a news briefing at Camp Crame in Manila, Wednesday, stating that police officials from the rank of full colonel up to generals submit their courtesy resignation as part of the government’s effort to speed up the internal cleansing within the PNP organization.
“(B)ased on the recommendation of the Chief PNP (General Rodolfo Azurin, Jr) and some ranking officials, I am calling all full colonel up to general to submit a courtesy resignation, I know that this will surprise you but this is the only way to make a fresh start,” Abalos said.
While Abalos clarified that the courtesy resignation is more of an appeal to all senior officials, he also admitted that based on their thorough investigation, there is a “big problem” within the organization in connection to the involvement of some generals and colonels in illegal drugs.
The previous Duterte administration has made illegal drugs a major campaign that has drawn criticisms for human rights violations, while some police officers have been caught in drug busts all across the nation.
Tagum’s track record
Tagum was recently assigned to lead the MDPD last December.
The new police district was created after the creation of the Metropolitan Davao Development Authority (MDDA) signed by former President Rodrigo Duterte on April 2022, which aims to enhance the economic development of Davao Region.
The MDDA is composed of Davao City; Panabo City, Tagum City, and Island Garden City of Samal in Davao del Norte; Digos City in Davao del Sur; Mati City in Davao Oriental; municipalities Sta. Cruz, Hagonoy, Padada, Malalag, and Sulop in Davao del Sur, Carmen in Davao del Norte, Maco in Davao de Oro; Malita and Sta Maria in Davao Occidental.
Under the MDPD’s jurisdiction are the Davao City Police Office, Tagum City Police Office, Padada Municipal Police Station, Sta Maria Municipal Police Station, Panabo City Police Office, Hagonoy Municipal Police Station, Malita Municipal Police Station, Mati City Police Office, Sta Cruz Police Station, Maco Police Station, Digos City Police Station, Sulop Municipal Police Station, Digos City Police Station, Island Garden City of Samal Police Station ug Malalag Municipal Police Station.
Tagum was handpicked by former Mayor Sara Duterte to lead the Davao City Police Office from April 2017 to October 2019.
This was a controversial appointment, as Tagum was criticized in his tenure as Kidapawan Police Director for dispersing protesting farmers which led to two deaths.
During Tagum’s tenure in Davao, he implemented Oplan Iron City, an integrated police-military patrol city with personnel planted on almost all street corners. Police auxiliary consisting of 1,000 were also augmented for this system.
He also implemented Oplan Kalinaw in support of the government’s anti-terrorism and counter-insurgency program.
Tagum is a member of the Philippine National Police Academy Class Tagapagkalinga Class of 1991. (davaotoday.com)davao region, illegal drugs, philippines, PNP