December 8, 2022

His assignment in Baguio has been met with criticisms on the Philippine National Police’s manner of deploying its personnel without proper coordination with local chief executives but as he leaves the city for another assignment, he will bring with him commendations and awards for a job well done.

Last Monday, Col. Allen Rae Co, erstwhile Baguio chief of police, bid goodbye to city officials as he ends his two-year tour of duty.

Co said his expected deployment in another area is routine among police officers and even the military.

“It is an honor and a privilege to have served in Baguio,” he said in a press conference.

He said in his 20 years in the police service, his assignment in Baguio has so far been a colorful and a challenging one.

He said he may not have experienced what it was like when throngs of tourists come to Baguio during the Panagbenga but he still had his hands full when the police was tapped to enforce the nationwide lockdown in March 2020.

Select personnel of the BCPO have also been tapped to become members of the city’s contact tracing team because of their skills in cognitive interviewing.

“Two or three months after the declaration of the pandemic ilan pa lang ang cases natin but other cities comparable to Baguio already reached hundreds or even thousands of cases,” Co said, stressing that the city’s efficient contact tracing system helped slow down the spread of the SARS-CoV2.

On top of their Covid-related duties, the BCPO also handled some of the most talked-about cases in the city such as the death by maltreatment of Philippine Military Academy cadet Darwin Dormitorio; the alleged suicide but turned out to be a case of child abuse of a seven-year-old boy who was under the care of his aunt; and identification and filing of a case against the gunman of Imam Bedejim Abdullah, among other cases.

Co and his team’s hardwork paid off when the BCPO was adjudged Outstanding City Police for Community Relations for 2020. The city police chief was also conferred by the PNP a special award for the city’s Covid-19 response, Best Senior Police Commissioned Officer, Best Police Community Relations Senior Police Commissioned Officer, and Philippine National Police Academy Vicente Lim award.

Co said he would not have been able to carry out his job well if not for the support of city officials and his team at the BCPO as well as the cooperation of the community.

“The people of Baguio are disciplined, down to earth, and cooperative,” Co said.

He said he is hopeful that whoever will replace him will be able to continue what he started especially in crime prevention. “Proactive measures helps in deterring crimes,” Co added.

A Baguio-based judge known for her advocacy for the rights of women and children and a member of the City Advisory Council said they are hoping for the PNP to extend Co’s stint.

Co was appointed OIC of the BCPO in April 2019 replacing then city police director Eliseo Tanding. He became a full-fledged CD in August 2019 after Mayor Benjamin Magalong took the helm of City Hall on June 30 that same year.

Prior to his assignment at the BCPO, he was chief of the Police Regional Office Personnel and Records Management Division from Jan. 1, 2018 to Feb. 28, 2019.

Co, 46, has a Master’s degree in Public Management from the Development Academy of the Philippines. He is a graduate of two courses – Bachelor of Science in Public Safety from the PNPA (1997) and Bachelor of Arts in Political Science from De La Salle University (1995).

Awards he received in his 20 years in service are Medalya ng Kasanayan, Medalya ng Kagalingan, Medalya ng Ugnayang Pampulisya, Medalya ng Papuri, Medalya ng Paglilingkod, Medalya ng Paglaban sa Manliligalig, Medalya ng Paglilingkod Laban sa Kriminalidad, Tsapa sa Natatanging Yunit, Tsapa ng Kuwalipikasyon, Medalya ng Pagtulong sa Nasalanta, and Medalya ng Mabuting Asal.

He also received certificates of appreciation.

The PRO-Cor has yet to announce the candidates for BCPO chief. – Rimaliza A. Opiña