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Massive security measures set for Yuletide season -- ‘Bato’

  • Written by Alfred Dalizon
  • Published in Nation
  • Read: 119

MEMBERS of the 160,000-strong Philippine National Police have been ordered to launch a massive
security measure nationwide including the strict enforcement of the law on firecrackers and other
pyrotechnic devices and the ban on indiscriminate firing to ensure the peaceful celebration of the
coming Christmas and New Year holidays, top officials announced yesterday.

With the Asean summit over, more police officers are to be sent to so-called ‘soft targets’
including shopping malls, transport terminals, airports, hotels, piers and other public areas to curb
crime in places where large numbers of people converge during the Christmas season.
    
These measures are geared at preventing the loss of lives, limbs and properties.
    
On orders of PNP chief, Director General Ronald ‘Bato’ M. dela Rosa, police are also
concentrating their campaign against Motorcycle-Riding Suspects or motorbike-riding tandems engaged in
robbery-holdups and gun-for-hire activities.
    
PNP spokesman, Chief Superintendent Dionardo B. Carlos said that all Police Regional Offices
have been ordered by Gen. Dela Rosa to heighten their visibility on the streets to arrest criminality
and go against all forms of criminality.
    
National Capital Region Police Office chief, Director Oscar D. Albayalde and all 16 other
police regional directors said they are already undertaking security measures 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 secured celebration of the Christmas and New Year
holidays in the metropolis.
    
Carlos said they are also ensuring the 100 percent attendance of all policemen in their
respective units and offices and make them available to patrol the streets and further minimize
criminality during the Yuletide  season.
    
Under the PNP Oplan ‘Ligtas Paskuhan 2017,’ Carlos said 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
streets as it is expected that criminals would go around preying on the public,” Gen. Dela Rosa said.
    
Carlos said 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.
    
This coming December 30, the country will mark the 17th 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 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 9-day
novena or ‘Simbang Gabi’ in Catholic churches across the country and extend to the first week of
January 2018.
    
Traditionally, police authorities are watching this period when economic activities and the
influx of people particularly in urban centers are expected to increase.
    
Carlos said  the PNP will be watching the situation as they may trigger an increase in street
crimes, traffic congestion, traffic accidents,   proliferation of illegal firecrackers and
pyrotechnics and most notorious of them all, illegal discharge of firearms.
    
He said there will be maximum deployment of policemen to enhance crime prevention and solution
and thwart any illegal activities.  Police will also secure all tourist spots  to protect foreign and
domestic tourists.
    
The PNP has also stepped-up its enforcement of checkpoint operations, saturation drives and
gun checks to address street crimes, motorcycle-riding criminals and other incidents using firearms.