MEMBERS of the 160,000-strong Philippine National Police have been ordered to launch a massive security measure nationwide including strictly enforcing the law on firecrackers and other pyrotechnic devices and the ban on indiscriminate firing to ensure the peaceful celebration of Christmas and New Year , top officials announced yesterday.
PNP chief Director General Ronald ‘Bato’ M. dela Rosa has ordered National Capital Region Police Office director Chief Superintendent Oscar D. Albayalde to further step-up their conduct of the PNP Project: Double Barrel Alpha in Metro Manila to arrest criminality.
Similar measures are being undertaken by the 17 others police regional offices spread across the country, he said. The security measures are aimed at preventing criminal elements particularly thieves and robbers from pursuing their activities during the yuletide season.
Albayalde has called on the public to maintain their vigilance this yuletide season particularly in reporting the presence of suspicious-looking person, movements and unattended bags and packages in places of huge convergence in the metropolis while assuring the citizenry that all security measures are in place to ensure a safe and secure celebration of the Christmas and New Year holidays in the metropolis.
Under the PNP Oplan ‘Ligtas Paskuhan 2016,’ PNP spokesman Senior Supt. Dionardo B. Carlos said that PNP personnel will be deployed in places of worship, malls, markets, commercial areas, business districts, bus terminals, the MRT/LRT stations, seaports, airports, tourist destinations, vital installations and other places of public convergence.
“It is during this time that policemen should be alert and people should see more cops on the street as it is expected that criminals would go around preying on the public,” Gen. Dela Rosa said.
Carlos said that the PNP is also mobilizing force multipliers composed of Barangay Peacekeeping Action Teams, Barangay Tanod, private security agencies, NGOs and civilian volunteers’ organizations to augment local police units in their security operations
The PNP is also taking into consideration the possibility that terrorist groups and other criminals may take advantage of the situation to carry out their nefarious activities.
On December 30, the country will be marking the 16th anniversary of the infamous Rizal Day bombings in Metro Manila that killed and wounded scores of people. That terror attack was attributed to the Jemaah Islamiyah and rogue Moro Islamic Liberation Front guerrillas.
Carlos said that the security measures include the strict enforcement of Republic Act 7183 which regulates the sale, manufacture, distribution and use of firecrackers and other pyrotechnic devices. He added that they will be asking local government units to designate anew so-called ‘firecracker zones’ to ensure zero casualty during the period.
Carlos said the major security program will begin on December 16, the start of the nine-day novena or ‘Simbang Gabi’ in Catholic churches nationwide and extends up the first week of January 2017.
Carlos said the PNP will be watching the situation as they may trigger an increase in street crimes, traffic congestion, traffic accidents, the proliferation of illegal firecrackers and pyrotechnics and most notorious of them all, illegal discharge of firearms.
The official said that the PNP, in coordination with the DoH, LGUs and other concerned agencies like the Armed Forces and private security agencies will provide airtight security coverage and other public safety services during the Yuletide season and inclusive special holidays.
He said there will be maximum deployment of policemen to enhance crime prevention and solution and thwart any illegal activities. Apart from that, police will be fully securing all tourist spots in the country to protect foreign and domestic tourists.
At the same time, the PNP will conduct innovative security measures to prevent illegal discharge of firearms such as muzzle taping, firearms safekeeping, enforcement of gun-free areas/zones and other new measures.