By Aaron Recuenco
Director General Oscar Albayalde, chief of the Philippine National Police (PNP), has warned police commanders nationwide to strictly observe the ‘zero-crime incident’ in the vicinity of schools as some 29 million students are expected to troop to various public and private schools across the country for tomorrow’s class opening.
Albayalde said they have already come up with operational guidelines on how to achieve a zero-crime incident and all the police commanders have to do is to strictly observe the dos and don’ts on peace and order management for tomorrow’s class opening.
“I have issued the Operational Guidelines for Ligtas Balik-Eskwela 2018 that mobilizes all PNP Regional Offices and National Support Units to perform specific tasks and coordinating instructions to implement the nationwide security and public safety plan,” Albayalde said.
Ligtas Balik-Eskwela 2018 ensures the operational readiness of police units in responding to peace and order concerns including threats from criminal elements that may take advantage of the situation.
“The operational guidelines is also aimed at ensuring the availability and operational readiness of PNP units, personnel and resources for security and public safety operations in support of the department of Education,” Albayalde said.
The official said he is particularly concerned of the peace and order situation outside the vicinity of schools where criminal elements usually prowl during school days.
Criminal elements which include robbers and drug traffickers usually prey on the students, according to the PNP chief.
In some cases, even young elementary pupils would experience bullying of youth gangsters and even street crimes that include pickpocketing and snatching.
“Of priority concern to the PNP are incidents of street crimes such as pickpocket, snatching, swindling, robbery/holdup, and street-level drug trafficking,” Albayalde said.
“Police patrols in the vicinity of schools will also be on the lookout for drug traffickers, muggers, and violent street gangs that may infiltrate the ranks of students,” he added.
This is the reason, according to Albayalde, why there is a need to set up Police Assistance Desks in all public schools as this would serve both as a crime deterrent and a quick reaction center for the students and teachers.
Earlier, Albayalde said he had already instructed police commanders to deploy at least two policemen that would man the Police Assistance Desks. The deployment, he said, would be two or three days before the June 4 class opening.
Police commanders in areas where schools are located in urban areas should deploy personnel in strategic areas within the vicinity of schools for foot, mobile and police visibility patrols,” Albayalde said.
“Police assistance desks must also be established and manned by police with the strategic goal of zero-crime incident in all school and university areas,” he added.
“I have delegated to the concerned regional directors the discretionary authority to raise alert conditions as they deem necessary to effectively implement their respective security and public safety plans,” he added.
Albayalde said in big activities such as class opening, coordination with all the pertinent government agencies is important to strategize the management of peace and order.
In the manning of police assistance desks for instance, he said the assistance of barangay security officers, or barangay tanod, is very essential as they could serve as force multipliers.
“I have instructed local PNP units to coordinate closely with school administrators and officials of the Department of Education to implement safety and security measures in campuses,” Albayalde said.
Aside from school security, Albayalde said traffic management is also important.
In Metro Manila, he said the National Capital Region Police Office will assume traffic management operations in the vicinity of schools particularly in the University Belt area of Manila.
“Similar security measures will be implemented in seaports, airports and land transport terminals in anticipation of the heavy volume of incoming passengers from the provinces, mostly students returning from the summer vacation,” Albayalde said.