I recently came across an online article regarding Southeast Asia’s top Chief Information Officers or CIOs and was happy to find out that my friend, retired Police Director Napoleon ‘Nap’ Taas has been named as among the seven Asians in the prestigious list.
The article written by online editor Cristina Lago of CIO-IDG described Taas, who retired as the director of the PNP Directorate for Information Communications and Technology Management on June 20 last year as among the top CIOs in Southeast Asia.
Taas, a member of Philippine Military ‘Maharlika’ Class of 1984 who finished his schooling at the famed United States’ Military Academy in West Point is a veteran operations and intelligence officer in the PNP who was among the officials instrumental in the conviction of known World Trade Center bomber Ahmed Ramzi Yousef in 1995.
Of course, Yousef is the man behind the infamous ‘Bojinka Plot’ discovered by PNP authorities following an accidental fire in a Malate, Manila apartment where the terrorists were hiding. Yousef was one of the main perpetrators of the 1993 World Trade Center bombing, the bombing of the Philippine Airlines Flight 434 and a co-conspirator in the Bojinka plot where Al-Qaeda terrorists planned to crash bomb-filled airplanes in American targets.
Taas was among the junior officers who testified in New York court leading to the conviction of Yousef who is now serving two life sentences at the escape-proof ADX Florence jail in Colorado. He also once headed the now defunct PNP Anti-Illegal Drugs Special Task Force which made a record when it comes to smashing foreign drug syndicates and accounting for billions of pesos worth of shabu during his term.
The article described Taas, now a top executive of the 5-star Solaire Resort & Casino in Manila, as being ‘at the forefront of information communication technology and physical security in the Philippines’ over his more than 30 years in government service.
“His leadership, managerial competence, and extensive project management experience has allowed him to synchronise the efforts of the 21 involved agencies resulting in ZERO commercial flight cancellations, minimal traffic inconvenience, ZERO untoward incident and all within the budget allocated by the government of the Philippines,” the article read.
The article also credited Taas for being behind the risk assessments and security maps conducted to identify and address weaknesses in the PNP information systems, the programs he made during his stint both in the PNP-DICTM and the PNP Information Technology Management Service.
Taas was behind the projects that sought to make the PNP and the Public Safety Mutual Benefit Fund Inc (PSMBFI) compliant with the National Cyber Security Plan of 2022.
He likewise pioneered the establishment of the Enterprise Resource Platform that signalled the PNP’s departure from the highly inefficient and vulnerable silos apart from drafting the PNP’s Information Assurance Policy which made the police force the the only agency in government that is compliant to the National Privacy Act, the article added.
The online article said that role of the CIO has become a pivotal one at the time of driving change and leading the digital strategy of any public administration. The others in the prestigious list are Charis Yan,Yeo Beng Huay, Tham Mei Leng and Chan Cheow Ho, all of Singapore; Dr. Suhazimah Dzazali of Malaysia; and Mohidin Mus of Brunei Darussalam.
These experts are responsible for overseeing their respective country or organization’s central IT systems, infrastructure and other innovative public services for citizens and businesses. In short, they are the IT innovators in their own countries.
ALBAYALDE, ELEAZAR TOP PMA HONOREES
On a personal note, I would also like to congratulate my friends, PNP chief, General Oscar Albayalde and NCRPO chief, Director Gilor Eleazar who were honored by the Philippine Military Academy Alumni Association during the PMA alumni homecoming in Fort del Pilar, Baguio City yesterday.
Gen. Albayalde of PMA ‘Sinagtala’ Class of 1986 was the PMA awardee in the field of police administration while Eleazar of PMA ‘Hinirang’ Class of 1987 was the awardee in the field of police operations. I don’t have to enumerate the tons of accomplishments made by these two distinguished officers and gentlemen. Their records, past and present will speak for themselves.
PBA EXECUTIVES VS PBA GREATS
Lastly, I would also like to mention the joy we had while playing an exhibition game with PBA basketball greats at the packed Camp Crame gymnasium on Wednesday last week. The PNP Executive Basketball Team headed by PNP Chief Directorial Staff, Deputy Director General Pikoy Cascolan (I have been a member of the PNP Executive Team for nearly 10 years now) played good solid basketball for 48-minutes with the PBA Legends.
It was a joy banging bodies and trying to guard PBA greats Allan ‘The Triggerman’ Caidic, Alvin ‘The Captain’ Patrimonio, Jerry ‘the Chairman of the Board’ Codiñera, Johnny ‘The Flying A’ Abarrientos, Val ‘The Flash’ David, Marlou ‘The Skyscraper’ Aquino and Willie ‘The Thriller’ Miller Jr.
Caidic shot the lights out in the Camp Crame gym–I think he hit at least 143 points while Johnny A, Miller and David showed flashes of their brilliance and dribbling and passing skills. Of course, Patrimonio, Codinera and Aquino scored on will at the shaded area. In the end, my friend, PNP Secretary to the Directorial Staff, Chief Supt. Bong Dickson of PMA Class 1987 showed he has the fighting spirit when he nailed the game-tying 3-pointer with barely a second left. The game ended with us exchanging high- fives and hugs with the six who were joined by other players from the PSSLAI. In the end we all went home with bodies aching but all laughing, thrilled to play with legends who once dominated the PBA.