Highway Patrol Group regains old name, glory

PHILIPPINE NEWS SERVICE — MIDDLE of this year saw the Philippine National Police Traffic Management Group regaining its old name Highway Patrol Group and the integrity and credibility it need in the wake of several crisis that hounded the organization.

“As HPG director for a little over 15 months, I am proud to inform you that the Highway Patrol Group has once again regained its integrity and credibility after withstanding several crises in the past,” said erstwhile HPG director, Chief Superintendent Perfecto P. Palad when he turned over the command to his successor, Chief Supt. Orlando M. Mabutas.

Palad, of Philippine Military Academy Class 1977 is now the director of the Police Regional Office 4-A in Calabarazon ( Cavite , Laguna, Batangas, Rizal and Quezon) region. Mabutas, a graduate of PMA Class 1978 used to be the deputy director of the PNP Directorate for Intelligence.

“We attained this through our significant accomplishments in the campaign against carnapping, hijacking and highway robbery which undoubtedly created great impact on the safety and protection of our countrymen especially car owners and businessmen, generating thereof a special spot for the Highway Patrol Group in their hearts and minds,” said Palad.

PNP chief, Director General Jesus A. Verzosa said that no question about it, the HPG played a major part in the improved public approval rating given to the whole PNP organization by the citizenry. He also credited the HPG’s major role in the neutralization of 11 members of the notorious Waray-Waray- Ozamis robbery-holdup gang in a shootout in Parañaque City last Dec. 5.

HPG records showed a considerable decrease in car theft incidents by 45 percent from January to November this year compared to the same period in 2007.

Mabutas said their records showed that a total of 415 motor vehicles and 492 motorcycles or a total of 907 were stolen during the period compared to the 1,652 stolen last year.

He said the HPG’s intensified effort against car theft gangs resulted in the reduction on the average number of motor vehicles being stolen daily in the country — only 2.7 a day this year compared to the 4.5 daily average in 2007 — or a difference of 1.8 motor vehicles or a 40 percent reduction rate.

The decrease in incidents of car theft was attributed to the neutralization of seven notorious car theft gangs and the killing of 17 suspects in gunfights with HPG operatives that led in the recovery of 28 high-powered firearms. A total of 112 suspects in car theft were also arrested during the period which saw the HPG filing 99 cases in court.

The HPG this year also intercepted a van found loaded with 246 kilograms of high-grade shabu worth P1.2 billion while its agents were conducting a routine anti-carnapping operation in Calamba City in Laguna.