ARMED with machine pistols and assault rifles, police commandos patrol the streets, airports, bus terminals and piers looking for any sign of terror. A presence of an unattended bag would quickly make the officers and their K-9 teams spring into action.
The situation has been taking place at the Ninoy Aquino International Airports since last week where members of the Philippine National Police Aviation Security Group and the Airport Police Department patrol the country’s main airport ready to respond to any emergency situation.
PNP chief Director General Ronald “Bato” M. dela Rosa said they are seeing to it that there will be no more room for error as the PNP secures Metro Manila and the rest of the country under a state of lawless violence declared by President Rodrigo Duterte in the aftermath of the Davao City bomb attack that killed 14 people and wounded 67 others two Fridays ago.
In the metropolis, National Capital Region Police Office director Chief Superintendent Oscar D. Albayalde said he has ordered his men to double their patrols in crowded places including the MRT and LRT stations, bus terminals, shopping malls, churches and universities to preempt crime and other lawless acts. Bus marshals and undercover officers are also helping patrol the streets, he said.
Both Gen. Dela Rosa and Albayalde said that all safeguards are in place to ensure that no human rights will be violated by the police during the enforcement of the presidential order.
Gen. Dela Rosa in particular reminded all police units to strictly observe the prescribed Police Operational Procedures when conducting law enforcement operations, particularly when effecting arrests.
The PNP chief echoed his reminder to the 160,000-strong police force to supplement the clarification issued by Malacañang on the scope and limitations of the authority of the PNP and the Armed Forces under a state of emergency on account of lawless violence.
A memorandum order containing guidelines for the PNP and AFP under a state of lawlessness issued by Executive Secretary Salvador Medialdea specifically emphasized that “no civil or political rights are suspended during the existence of a state of lawless violence.”
For his part, the PNP chief cited Rule 13 of the Revised Police Operational Procedures which says that as a general rule, “all arrests should be made only on the basis of a valid Warrant of Arrest issued by a competent authority, except in instances where the law allows warrantless arrest.”
He said the only conditions that allow law enforcement authorities to effect warrantless arrests are: 1) When the person to be arrested has committed, is actually committing, is attempting to commit an offense in front of arresting officers; 2) When an offense has just been committed and the arresting officer has personal knowledge of facts indicating that the person to be arrested committed the offense; 3) When the person to be arrested is a prisoner who has escaped from a penal establishment or place where he is serving final judgment or temporarily confined while his case is pending; and 4) When the person arrested, or to be arrested, has voluntarily waived his right against warrantless arrest.
PNP spokesman Senior Superintendent Dionardo B. Carlos explained that the declaration of a state of lawlessness does not change the rules prescribed in the Revised Police Operational Procedures, or rules of engagement.
BOMB DISPOSAL, K-9, SWAT TEAMS
ON THEIR TOES 24/7 -- ALBAYALDE
Albayalde said in line with Proclamation No. 55 declaring a State of National Emergency, he has ordered all NCRPO Explosives and Ordnance Disposal Division, K-9 and Special Weapons and Tactics teams to be on their toes 24/7 while reiterating to his field commanders the need to step up their operations and double security measures to ensure the safety of the region against criminality, bombing and other terrorist activities.
The NCRPO, backed up by AFP troops have put up checkpoints and chokepoints in strategic parts of the metropolis with the NCRPO Special Reaction Unit composed of SWAT team, Explosive Ordnance Disposal Division and K-9 units intensifiying their 24/7 monitoring of any bomb threat.
The other day, Albayalde in response to the call of the Department of Education-NCR directed the SRU team to inspect schools and universities in Metro Manila and lecture school authorities on the protocol on bomb threats in schools.
Albayalde has ordered the SRU team to coordinate with school and university officials for a collaborative effort in increasing student awareness on managing bomb threat and to remind the students of the consequences and implications of spreading bomb jokes. The official said bus marshals have been deployed to provide security to the public.
The official has been inspecting schools, air and sea ports, bus terminals, business centers, churches, vital installations, and other places of convergence to ensure that all police and augmented security personnel are in their assigned posts.
Albayalde asked the public to be vigilant and report any suspicious person or developments through the NCRPO hotlines.All information can be given via the following hotlines: NCRPO 838-3203, text hotlines: 0917-708-1135 or 0917-856-1040, Northern Police District 285-2396 / 285-2838, text hotline: 0917-847-5757, 0905 - 454 – 2547, 0916-558-2419, Eastern Police District 641-0171/641-0877, text hotlines: 0915-888-8181/0999-901-8181/ 0917 – 728 – 3790, Manila Police District 523-1367 / 523-3378 text hotlines: 0919 – 995 – 0976 / 0917 – 899 – 2092, Southern Police District 519-5525 / 519-8644 text hotline: 0908 – 377 – 0025, and Quezon City Police District 925-8417/ 0917 – 840– 3925 text hotline 0995-645-1999/ 0919-496-7833 or through social media: Twitter@ncrporeact or facebook page @ NCRPOReact.