"What is interesting is that a jailed former leader of the National Democratic Front was instrumental in preparing the requirements for the award".
August 15, 2007
Inquirer, Southern Luzon
CITY OF CALAPAN – Senior Police Officer Geroilan “Roy” Pajarillo Mudanza was an awardee during a recent search for the Country’s Outstanding Policemen in Service by the Metrobank Foundation and the Rotary Club of New Manila East.
What is interesting is that a jailed former leader of the National Democratic Front was instrumental in preparing the requirements for the award.
“The board of judges was surprised to hear that a former leader of the NDF/NPA helped package my requirements for the award,” said Mudanza, provincial team leader of the regional intelligence unit of the Mimaropa (Mindoro Marinduque Romblon Palawan) police office in Camp Vicente Lim in Laguna.
“He fits my concept of a police officer for the masses—one who carries out his duty, is honest, respects the rules of engagement …” said Eduardo Serrano, Mudanza’s former enemy in the insurgency battlefield.
Serrano spent three years at the Oriental Mindoro Provincial Jail (OMPJ) where he worked closely with prison officials in conducting livelihood, health and paralegal projects for the prisoners.
He was transferred to Camp Crame on Aug. 12 after a Quezon City regional trial court ordered OMPJ warden retired police Supt. Rolando Gonzalez to bring him to the detention quarters in Camp Crame in consideration of the political nature of his case.
Serrano and two women, tagged by the military as NPA members, were arrested by police and Army intelligence men on May 2, 2004.
Serrano facilitated the formation of a multipurpose cooperative, which enabled the prisoners to purchase their basic necessities, while helping coordinate income-generating activities such as abaca crafts-production, kite-making, Christmas decors-making and candle-making for the inmates and their families.
Serrano is now pursuing a masteral degree on Environment and Natural Resources at the Open University of the University of the Philippines.
Mudanza’s award was most welcomed by his family.
“People in our town couldn’t believe that my husband is a national awardee,” said his wife Winnie, a public elementary school teacher.
“We felt vindicated that after many years of made-up stories by some politicians to destroy me, justice prevailed,” said Mudanza who is based in Oriental Mindoro.
For security reasons, Mudanza could not freely roam around in his town after he got the ire of politicians whom he had contradicted.
“He wears a helmet so as not to be recognized. He is better known in the mountains and other towns where he works on his assignments,” said his wife.
Mudanza helped the Aeta families settle in a cogonal parcel of land that had been covered by the government’s Comprehensive Agrarian Reform Program and subsequently foreclosed by a bank.
More than 10 years ago, Mudanza met a group of Aeta people along a river in Pinamalayan town. In jest, he told them to go to Bansud town for land so they didn’t have to move from one place to another.
Unaware that land was a serious concern for the Aeta folk, Mudanza was surprised one day to see five from that group at his doorstep in Bansud, about 3 kilometers from Pinamalayan.
He referred them to the barangay chair who guided them to the parcel of land.
More than 30 Aeta families from Cavite, Laguna, Quezon, Negros, Iloilo and parts of Bicol became the first settlers in that piece of land.
Then a few non-Aeta families and CARP beneficiaries also arrived to make use of the more than 400 hectares of uncultivated land for settlement.
They have since increased to more than 100 today and call Mudanza their “Kuya” (elder brother) for acting as such in times of hunger, calamity, threats from those who want their land, and those who accuse them of being New People’s Army members.
“The nominee was able to ‘resettle’ and not just ‘relocate’ a wandering group of Aetas. And by helping them establish a source of living, coupled with an educational opportunity and security of tenure to their abode, these people would be prevented from becoming victims of criminal acts that they may not resist, especially when their families are unjustly treated and eventually impoverished by the long tentacles of poverty and helplessness,” said Serrano in his writeup on Mudanza as nominee.
Mudanza was able to work out a housing project for the Aeta folk from a diocesan program of the Apostolic Vicariate of Calapan and the Couples for Christ of Roxas town, and the Gawad Kalinga once an agreement was finalized with the mayor.
Since 1969, as an intelligence officer of the second police district command under the leadership of then Inspector Rolando Gonzales, Mudanza helped establish the Bayanihan Pederasyon of Silangang Mindoro among the village officials and village watchpersons in the fight against criminality and insurgency.
In 2003, almost 90 percent of village officials surrendered their unlicensed firearms for proper accreditation.
The federation is now in almost all the municipalities of the province, with about 3,000 members, including the City of Calapan.
Since 1994, Mudanza has been extending assistance to 50 rebel returnees (RRs) in Bansud.
The RRs grew tired of fighting and had personal problems affecting their families or loved ones, said Serrano.
Mudanza helped clear the names of these RRs and encouraged them to start a new life until they became models to the farmer-settlers in cultivating the abandoned land and domesticating farm animals.
He complemented the efforts of Gonzales, his commanding officer, in regularly visiting the RRs and strictly prohibited any operating force in the hinterlands to use them as guides in military operations against their former comrades.
Mudanza helped in following up their applications for livelihood funds intended for RRs. These RRs then volunteered as village watchpersons.
Mudanza and Gonzalez are exerting effort to secure 40 slots from the Gawad Kalinga for them to be installed in Sitio Narra, Barangay Villa Pag-Asa in Bansud.
“Being a part of their extended families, these rebel-returnees became familiar acquaintances during special occasions of the Gonzales family and on holidays sharing the fruits of their labor and love from their respective families,” said Serrano.
Mudanza has also been assisting beneficiaries of land reform in Barangay Conrazon, Bansud since June 2004.
He encouraged the beneficiaries to make more productive the abandoned pasture land, hoping that it would help the farmers keep their trust in the government and not resort to illegal ways.
He mobilized the youth in community projects like the sandbagging operations during the floods that hit Calapan City and its adjacent towns in December 2005.
For outstanding performance in service, Mudanza received several awards as police intelligence officer, including a special award in 2005 from the Federal Bureau of Investigation for the arrest of Geronimo Zuñiga who was wanted in the United States for stabbing to death his former wife about 20 years ago. #