By Lolit Acosta

A GROUP of law enforcers from the San Francisco Police Department (SFPD) are due in Manila to conduct training programs with their counterparts at the Philippine National Police (PNP) and visit police stations in Metro Manila and other regions.

The SFPD trip, its eighth since year 2000, is part of the exchange training and educational program with PNP, which seeks to share and impart law enforcement skills and knowledge as well as foster camaraderie with local cops. Over the years, the PNP had also sent a delegation to San Francisco.

Established in April 1999, the program resulted in the formation of the Philippine Exchange Training (PET) Team that laid the groundwork to further strengthen professional ties and mutual learning opportunities among peacekeepers from the two countries.

Among the backers of the program is Philippine Airlines (PAL), which had flown the team in its past visits to the Philippines. Last year, the national flag carrier gave the US security experts extra baggage allowance to bring paraphernalia for use in their training programs with PNP.

“We are honored to be a part of this undertaking,” said PAL Chairman and CEO Lucio C. Tan. He said that apart from the flag carrier’s mission of promoting the Philippines as a tourist destination, PAL also wants to actively assist in efforts to improve the capability of Filipino law enforcers. “This is important especially after last year’s Luneta hostage tragedy. We’re glad to help in our small way to provide our local police the needed the training,” he stressed.

The program includes holding of symposiums, seminars and lectures on tactical skills, industrial security, transit security, crime scene investigation and terrorism awareness. Among the training venues are the Philippine National Police Academy in Silang, Cavite, and the Philippine Public Safety College in Makati.

The SFPD team, mostly of Filipino ancestry, is also scheduled to meet and interact with local police officials.

The two cities have had numerous economic and cultural programs following the signing of the San Francisco-Manila Sister City agreement in 1961.