By Aaron Recuenco
Hundreds of police assistance centers will be set up in ports, terminal and major thoroughfares across the country as millions of people are expected to troop to the provinces for the All Saints’ and All Souls’ Days.
Director General Oscar Albayalde, chief of the Philippine National Police (PNP), said the police assistance centers will be manned by more than 32,000 policemen which they plan to tap from various police offices.
“The PNP is all systems go to implement law enforcement and public safety plan for the traditional Filipino observance of All Saint’s Day and All Soul’s Day,” said Albayalde.
Part of the instruction to police commanders is to ensure that all assistance centers are manned 24 hours a day until Monday next week when those who went to the provinces go back to work or to their schools.
Most of those who would go to the provinces from Metro Manila and other key urban areas are expected to honor their departed loved ones, and, likewise, take advantage of the long weekend to go on a lenthy vacation.
Based on the PNP data, more than 14.5 million Filipinos are expected to troop to various cemeteries and memorial parks across the country.
“We will be fielding 32,092 police personnel from the Police Regional Offices and National Support Units to perform security and public safety duties this weekend,” said Albayalde.
“There is an estimated 14.6 million Filipinos are expected to troop to 4,677 public cemeteries and memorial parks, and 76 columbaria around the country during this traditional day of remembrance for the departed,” he added.
Aside from the policemen, Albayalde said they are expected to be augmented b some 87,000 force multipliers from local government units, civic action groups, civilian volunteer organizations and motoring clubs.
These force multipliers, according to Albayalde, will be allowed to man police assistance centers in providing road assistance and public safety services.
Albayalde said security coverage will be also laid–out in all 83 airports and domestic air terminals, 333 seaports, 808 inland bus terminals, and 59 train stations in different parts of the country to assist travelers.
“The key element in this security operation is police visibility, considering both its crime deterrent and reassuring effect on the public,” said Albayalde.
“This is the general guidance to all Police Regional Offices and National Support Units. My outstanding order to all units and personnel is to remain visible at all times along travel routes, transport terminals, public cemeteries and other public places to establish police presence in these areas,” he added.
In Luzon, local police units in the Ilocos-Pangasinan Region, Cagayan Valley Region, Cordillera, Central Luzon, Calabarzon, Mimaropa and Bicol Region have been directed to establish PACs along the Mc Arthur Highway, Maharlika Highway, MARILAQUE Highway and Manila South Road to secure the route for motorists and commuters traveling to and from the provinces.
Local police units have also been alerted to be prepared to address possible security and emergency situations in public cemeteries such as missing persons, medical emergencies and accidents, traffic gridlock, over-crowding and congestion, stampede, petty crime, illegal parking and vendors, swindlers impersonating as priests and long-lost relatives, and possession of deadly weapons and prohibited items.