GLIMPSES & GAZES

By Severino C. Samonte

In anticipation of the celebration of the 83rd Foundation Day of Quezon City on Oct. 12, I have done a little recollection and research about the country's erstwhile capital from 1948 to 1976.

I was very much amazed and impressed with what I found and learned. For instance, when it was created as a city (yes, already a city upon birth) by Commonwealth President Manuel L. Quezon on Oct. 12, 1939, it only had a population of 39,109. As of 2020, the city's population has increased to over 2.96 million, the largest among the 16 cities and one town in the National Capital Region or Metro Manila.

According to the QC Treasurer's Office, the city government's annual income from businesses, realty taxes and other sources topped the PHP22.9-billion mark as of 2021.

In the concern of protecting its ever-burgeoning population, the QC Police District, which was born also in 1939, has transformed its formerly six police precincts into 16 police stations at present.

It may be worth mentioning here why I am particularly interested with Quezon City out of the country's more than 140 cities. First, because I was born in the same year it was founded by President Quezon, and second, it is where I have been residing since I was nine years old in 1948.

I am also writing this column to recognize the argument that whatever growth QC has attained, it has also benefited half of its adopted daughter, the former town of Novaliches. At the same time, I also wish to know how Novaliches has become beneficial to Quezon City. The other half of Novaliches belong to Caloocan City.

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When I started writing news as a reporter-correspondent of the former Philippine News Service (PNS) in the last half of 1967, I was assigned to cover the northern half of Quezon City and Caloocan, then still a town of Rizal province. PNS, the country's first privately-owned news agency, was the predecessor of the present-day Philippine News Agency (PNA) which was established by the national government in 1973.

In 1967, the then 28-year-old Quezon City and its police force born also in 1939 had only six police precincts distributed strategically in a vast area consisting of 171.71 square kilometers.

The six QCPD precincts existing until 1976 were Precincts 1, 2, 3, 4, 5 and 6. These were under the QCPD headquarters at Kamuning-Epifanio Delos Santos Avenue (EDSA) in Cubao.

The Novaliches-based Precinct 6 had the largest area of jurisdiction, nearly half of the entire Quezon City. Novaliches was then a farming area populated mostly by farmers.

The Novaliches area covered by Precinct 6 had a population of some 90,000 as of 1967. The precinct had only 36 personnel led by a captain and a lieutenant as assistant. Their only service vehicle, an old Volkswagen Beetle, was often under repairs. Many times, this writer had to join some policemen in pushing the vehicle, which would not start due to old and weak battery.

The jurisdiction of Precinct 6 was from the QC boundary with North Caloocan, extending southward to Barrios San Agustin, Nagkaisang Nayon-Capri, Novaliches Proper, Sta. Monica, Kaligayahan, Pasong Putik, including the La Mesa Dam reservation, Tandang Sora, Pasong Tamo, Sangandaan, Talipapa, Sauyo, Bagbag, San Bartolome, and Gulod. Barangays Greater Lagro, Greater Fairview, North Fairview, and Sta. Lucia were not yet in existence then along with Barangays Batasan Hills, Commonwealth, Holy Spirit, Payatas,and Bagong Silangan.

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In the 1950s, the QC Police Precinct 6 was just renting an old two-story house at Novaliches Proper, opposite the former Novaliches Academy, now the Metro Manila College in Barangay Kaligayahan, Novaliches.

In the first half of the 1970s, Precinct 6 was moved to another rented site at Austria St., near Gen. Luis St. After staying there for a few years, it again transferred, this time to a government-owned lot near Buenamar subdivision. The new site was near the old Novaliches park and playground.

It was during the time of QC Mayor Adelina S. Rodriguez (1976-1986) when QCPD Precinct 6 was elevated into QCPD Substation (SS-6).

I stopped covering SS-6 after I became very much occupied in 1984 by my duties as city editor of the PNA, which was then based at the Office of Media Affairs (OMA) on Bohol Ave. (now Sgt. J. Esguerra Ave.) in QC. The last two SS-6 commanders I covered in Novaliches were Col. Graciano Bartolome and Col. Reynaldo Medina, who later on became a QC 2nd District councilor.

According to the QCPD website, there are now 16 police stations throughout the city. Seven of these can be described as "daughters" of the former QC Police Precinct 6. These are: QCPD Station 3 in Barangay Talipapa; Station 4 in Novaliches Proper or Poblacion; Station 5 in Fairview, Station 6 in Batasan Hills, Station 13 in Payatas-Bagong Silangan, Station 14 in Holy Spirit, and Station 16 in Pasong Putik.

Those situated in the other QC areas are: Station 1 in La Loma, Station 2 in Masambong, Station 7 in Cubao, Station 8 in Project 4, Station 9 in Anonas, Station 10 in Kamuning, Station 11 in Galas, and Station 12 in Eastwood City in Barangay Bagumbayan abutting with Pasig City.

The QCPD headquarters is situated at Camp Karingal in Quezon City.


Editor’s note: The opinions expressed in the foregoing article are solely the author’s and do not reflect the opinions and beliefs of the Philippine News Agency (PNA) or any other office under the Office of the Press Secretary.

About the Columnist

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He began his journalistic career by contributing to the Liwayway and Bulaklak magazines in the 1960’s. He was the night editor of the Philippine News Service when Martial Law was declared in September 1972. When the Philippine News Agency was organized in March 1973, he was named national news editor because of his news wire service experience.

He retired as executive news editor in 2003. He also served as executive editor of the Malacanang-based Presidential News Desk from 1993 to 1996 and from 2005 to 2008.