Thursday, March 1, 2012

Hello, Officers! The PNP Museum

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Mall? Check. Amusement Park? Check. Playground? Check. Swimming Pool? Check. Beach? Check. 

If you're running out of places to explore with kids and the young at heart, then head to Camp Crame in Quezon City.  At the heart of Camp Crame is the Philippine National Police (PNP) Museum which showcases the history and achievements of our country's law enforcers. 

Bold and blue: The Philippine National Police National Headquarters.

The PNP Museum is a two-story edifice where visitors can learn about the past and present of the people responsible for enforcing the law and maintaining peace and order.  On display are interesting  artifacts and memorabilia from the time the PNP was known as the Philippine Constabulary until it became a national police force. 
Welcome to the PNP Museum! Looks like a house, doesn't it?
There is also a gallery on the second floor featuring police officers who received the Medalya ng Kagitingan or Medal of Valor, the highest honor that can be conferred by a nation to its law enforcers. A velvet rope separates the gallery from the rest of the items on exhibit at that floor to emphasize its importance. Interestingly, some of those featured in the gallery are still alive today.

The Medal of Valor (L) and some of its recipients (R)
Among the museum's collections, the ones that caught my attention were the uniforms used by former Constables. In fact, I noticed most of the museum's visitors that day had their photos taken beside the mannequins. I was also surprised to find photos of some politicians who started in the PNP, one of which is the Department of Justice's favorite Senator (Any guess?).

These old  uniforms reflect the place where the Constables served.
Where do you think did the police in loincloth work?
On the other hand, the kids I saw in the museum liked the decommissioned vehicles such as the tank, helicopter and police jeep. These are located at the grounds across the museum's entrance. I think the museum's staff were well aware of how kids behave around those vehicles (It can get crazy!) because they recommended that it should be the last stop in exploring the museum.

For  most children,  riding on these vehicles is the highlight of their museum visit.
A short walk away  from the museum is the PNP Heritage Park, where the Bantayog ng mga Bayaning Tagapamayapa is located. It honors the police officers who died in the line of duty. Interestingly, it was inaugurated only in 2006, during the 15th anniversary of the PNP.

On these walls are the names of the fallen heroes of the country's police force.
Now before I wrap up this post, let me share with you what a group of kids I met at the museum's entrance told me when I asked them what police officers do. The kids, in unison, said, Nangkokotong (accepts bribes and grease money). I don't know if the policemen at the Museum heard but if they did, they must have felt a bit ashamed. (I know I was.) I just hope that after those children explored the museum, they realized that there are some good men and women among those called to "serve and protect" citizens. Was that wishful thinking?

The PNP Museum is open from Monday to Friday, 9:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. Admission is free. Guided group tours can also be arranged in advance with the PNP Police Community Relations group. For more photos of the PNP Museum, check my Facebook page.

You might also be interested in :  The National Museum Art Gallery  and the Yuchengco Museum .

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