MANILA — Interior and Local Government Secretary Manuel “Mar” Roxas II on Monday has assured the public that the 150,000-strong Philippine National Police (PNP) is prepared to maintain peace and order in the streets during the holiday season’s rush.
Roxas has already coordinated with the PNP OIC PCSupt. Leonardo Espina to ensure that high crime areas of convergence, especially malls in Metro Manila, will be under the close watch of authorities.
“We saturate these areas with police personnel because criminals cluster around commercial areas,” said Roxas.
The DILG chief has previously confirmed a downward trend in criminality in National Capital Region (NCR) mainly due to the deliberate, programmatic and sustained approach that the PNP has taken under “Oplan: Lambat-Sibat.”
He also explained that part of the operation plan was “Pasadya,” where police interventions were designed based on the particular features of the environment. Force multipliers such as volunteer radio groups and barangay peacekeeping action teams (BPATs) were also deployed with uniformed police personnel to help provide additional security in convergence areas.
“Safety is probably one of the best gifts that we can give the public this season,” Roxas said.
These high-traffic and high-crime areas include malls and shopping centers in Marikina, Pasig, Mandaluyong, San Juan, Moriones, Ermita, Pasay, Makati, Muntinlupa, Taguig, Masambong, Cubao, Kamuning and Eastwood.
Roxas also advised the public to take the necessary precautions to prevent any untoward incidents and to keep the celebrations merry but safe.
For his part, Espina on Monday reminded all police commanders of the operational guidelines and procedures to be undertaken in maintaining order, law enforcement, and in providing public safety services during the Yuletide season which starts Tuesday with the traditional 9-day Misa de Gallo.
Espina reiterated earlier orders for enhanced security operations before, during and after the observance of the traditional Yuletide Holiday Season (Christmas Day and New Year’s Day) as expected to cause influx of people in shopping mall, churches, transport terminals and other public places.
The Operational Guidelines for “Ligtas Paskuhan 2014” involve police presence, focused law enforcement operations, target hardening, police community partnership and information operations, he said.
Espina said police presence will be intensified through increased foot and mobile patrol operations and deployment of Route Safety Marshalls in areas and times where and when they are most needed. Police Assistance Hubs will also be established in places of convergence.
“Even as preemptive security operations are underway, the PNP will continue to intensify the campaign against loose firearms, illegal discharge of firearms, and campaign against criminal gangs and personalities supported by the aggressive implementation of Oplan ‘Bakal’ and Oplan ‘Sita’, and Strict implementation of RA No 7183 (Illegal Manufacture and Sale of Firecrackers and Pyrotechnics),” Espina said.