September 29, 2023

Sustaining the culture of peace that continues to reign in La Trinidad, Benguet will encourage more tourists and investors to expand their business in the capital town, according to Police Director General Rodolfo Azurin, Jr.
A proud son of La Trinidad, Azurin, who served as guest of honor during the 40th Strawberry Festival on March 17, said the municipality has always been a model of peace in this highland region.
He cited the non-practice of employing bodyguards for politicians, which is rare in other parts of the country.
When he was director of the Benguet Police Provincial Office, he recalled deploying police escorts to the late Gov. Nestor Fongwan, Sr. but the latter declined stating that Igorots are not used to seeing a legion of bodyguards for politicians.
The late governor who was also elected representative shared to Azurin that employing bodyguards might cause him to lose the election.
“We take the model of the province of Benguet and we advise our policemen to study the culture of each area kasi iba-iba naman iyong kultura ng bawat area,” Azurin said.
Azurin said the perception of a place is critical for its economy, thus if a place is perceived as peaceful, then tourists and investors will consider the area in their bucket list, or as an expansion site. 
He also urged politicians to come together and set aside their differences, as he cited the recent killing of Negros Oriental Gov. Roel Degamo who was gunned down, along with eight others, in his residence in Pamplona town on March 4.
Azurin said the attack made it in the international news which affects the international community’s perception of the state of the country’s peace and security.
“Everybody wanted to help in the economy of our country because of what happened during the pandemic where businesses shut down and many lost their jobs, so we don’t need these political issues right now,” he said.
He also rallied the Police Regional Office-Cordillera to partner with their respective local government units, civil society organizations, churches, and maintain a good relationship with the community they are serving. 
“We have to keep in mind that whatever is the state of our security in the country, it definitely has an effect on our economy,” he said.
Azurin urged the people of La Trinidad to do their share in promoting peace and order and community resilience, disaster preparedness, and preserving the environment to make the municipality a good place to live in, always thinking about the future generation, drawing from this year’s festival theme, “A festival for recovery: Building a brighter future from adversities.” – Ofelia C. Empian