Friday, July 12, 2013

Davao's "Bato" (The Rock)

For all Dabawenyos, his name has become synonymous to a man of action - an officer that the common people can rely on and a nemesis to criminals. His 18 months term as Davao City Police Director will soon end in a few days following his transfer and promotion to Camp Crame as Chief of Staff, Police Training Service of the Philippine National Police. I may not know him personally, but as a blogger and Dabawenya by heart, this post is my tribute to one tough guy called "Bato".

PSSupt. Ronald "Bato" M. dela Rosa (source)

Police Senior Superintendent Ronald M. dela Rosa hails from a small barangay called Bato in Sta. Cruz, Davao del Sur who entered the Philippine Military Academy in 1982 and joined the Philippine Constabulary in 1986 after his graduation. Since then, Sir Bato earned his stripes in the field, facing real dangers against notorious criminals and terrorists. Indeed, he has come a long way from his humble beginnings selling stuffs in Bansalan to earn additional income. He earned the moniker "Bato" from his place of origin and his solid, stocky physique that has become a familiar sight to all Davao residents.

Col. Bato dela Rosa (extreme right) during yesterday's operations against the KFR group in Claveria, Davao City

One of Sir Bato's major accomplishment for me was the Oplan Toktok-Hangyo (TokHang) where he would personally pay visit to suspected drug users and pushers in Davao City and talk them into giving up their illegal activities before it becomes too late for them, hence the term toktok-hangyo (knock and request). His grassroots approach and unpretentious manner of talking helped these individuals see the folly of their actions. What I appreciate about Sir Bato the most is his willingness to be where the action is even if it means going into barangays notorious for crimes and leaving the comfort of his air-conditioned office. Yesterday, during the operation that saved business woman Sally Chua from her kidnappers, Sir Bato was seen carrying a high-powered gun, in plain clothes and calling the shots to his men right in the middle of the street. His quick response and calculated moves has made Davao City one of the safest places in the country - except for those who live a life of crime such as the kidnappers who met their end of days here yesterday afternoon. Despite his success and effectiveness in his role, I have never heard of a report where he disrespected local officials even when his performance was being questioned. A true gentleman and officer.

Photos courtesy of Sunstar Davao
After July 16, Tuesday, Sir Bato will be flying to Manila and wear new shoes. He will be leaving Davao City and Dabawenyos whom he served with selfless dedication. We may be sad to see a good police officer go but on the other hand, this move means you will be serving more Filipinos and be a role model to the men in uniform, hungry for someone who has the integrity and leadership. But he promised to one day return to his roots. He is not shy talking about his goal to become regional director after his latest assignment. We will be waiting for your return. 

Thank you for serving all of us in Davao with the best that you can for a year and a half. Thank you for showing that albeit the corruption and bad reports involving the police, there are those like Bato dela Rosa who has imbibed the values of what public service truly is. You will be missed and I will always be a fan. 

Daghang salamat ug hangtod sa imong pagbalik sa dakbayan sa Davao (thank you very much and until your return to Davao City)!