Minglanilla’s friendly ‘lolli cops’
Clark Ivan, a 5-year-old day care student, always shivers at the sight of a police officer and a patrol car.
The little boy is afraid of cops and he does not like to see any policeman near him.
“Mahadlok ko nila. Hadlok kaayo sila (I am afraid of them. They are very scary),” said Clark Ivan.
His 62-year-old grandmother, who requested anonymity, admitted that for years, they used the word “police” as a scare tactic to instill discipline on their grandchild.
“Mao among gamiton panghadlok ilabi na kung mag-kiat siya (It was our way to scare him especially when he was misbehaving),” she said.
The Minglanilla town police now wishes to erase the children’s negative perception by presenting themselves as their friendly neighborhood crime busters.
Together with its private partners, the Minglanilla Police station launched “Lolli Cops” last month, a program that aimed to build a good relationship with children.
As the name suggests, Lolli Cops are lollipop-bearing policemen who give out the popular candies to children.
The police station partnered with Henry Deats — the company executive officer of Celso Oliva Foundation, a non government organization.
Chief Insp. Verniño Noserale, the Minglanilla Police chief, is a father of two who happens to adore children.
He told Cebu Daily News of his goal to come up with a program that does “random acts of kindness” while also disseminating information to children.
A survey conducted by the police station showed that most children considered lollipop as a top favorite.
But the Lolli Cop program gives out the famous candy with a twist.
“Our lollipop is not like any ordinary lollipop. The lollipop that we give to children has a strip of paper with a simple message including the contact numbers of the police station,” said Noserale.
The lolli cops visit different places and schools of Minglanilla town every week targetting a young audience from kindergarten up to high school for their information drive.
Aside from bringing joy to the students through the sweet treats, Noserale said that they want to bring the cops closer to the children.
A new approach
Noserale observed that many kids these days grew up being told by their parents that policemen ought to be feared.
“We would like to erase the misconception that children have of us brought about by the wrong information fed by parents to instill fear in their children,” Noserale said in Cebuano.
“Kung mahadlok ang bata namo, what if nay problema ang bata masaag o mawagtangan gamit asa man sila paingon (If kids are scared of us, where else would they go if they have a problem like they are lost or they have lost their things),” he asked.
“Maong gusto namo nga mawala ilang kahadlok aron makadool sila sa police kung wala ilang parents (That’s why we want to take away the fear so they can go to the police if their parents are not around during emergencies ),” added Noserale.
When giving out lollipops in schools, the cops also conduct a lecture on the basic work of a policeman along with other interesting topics that involve the profession and how they can help children.
“We have visual aids to make it very interesting for the children and we also conduct a little lecture on GMRC (good manners and right conduct),” said Noserale.
“Just brotherly advice that they should always go to class and not be absent; and that they should listen to their teachers and their parents. Most of all, that they should never engage in illegal drugs. Things like that,” added Noserale.
According to the Minglanilla police chief, the lolli cops program was also a form of a “sweet” campaign against illegal drugs.
“It’s a unique campaign unwrapped using a new weapon in the fight against illegal drugs to improve people’s awareness especially the children,” said Noserale.
He further explained that the war on drugs launched by the Philippine National Police (PNP) does not exempt children although they are using a different approach.
“We have what is called a demand and supply reduction. In supply reduction we conduct operations. While in demand reduction, we start by giving lectures and warnings to children so that as early as now they will know not to get themselves involved in illegal drug activities,” said the 33-year-old police chief.
Disclaimer: The comments uploaded on this site do not necessarily represent or reflect the views of management and owner of Cebudailynews. We reserve the right to exclude comments that we deem to be inconsistent with our editorial standards.