By Mike Crismundo
Pilar, Siargao Island, Surigao del Norte – The regional command of Northeastern Mindanao Police Regional Office 13 (PRO 13) based in Camp Col. Rafael C. Rodriguez, Butuan City on Wednesday mobilized close to 4,000 policemen to secure all places of convergence during the observance of the Holy Week or “Semana Santa.”
Aside from the regular force of PRO 13 spread out in the five provinces and six cities of northeastern Mindanao or Caraga region, the regional command of PRO 13 also utilized force multipliers, including barangay tanods, barangay intelligence net and civilian volunteers organizations (CVOs) to assist the police force in the communities.
P/Brig. Gen. Gilberto DC Cruz, regional director of Northeastern Mindanao PRO 13 also ordered all regional, provincial and city mobile force commanders to utilize their respective personnel in assisting different provincial and city police offices as well as Municipal Police Stations (MPSs) in securing all areas of convergence in their respective areas of jurisdictions during the Holy Week.
P/Lt. Col. Christian L. Rafols, chief of the Regional Public Information Office (RPIO) of PRO 13 said: “Some of our tanods, BIN and CVOs will also help our traffic enforcers in securing their respective local communities.”
He said all field units of PRO 13 will remain on full alert status as they step up security measures.
PRO 13’s “Oplan Ligtas Biyahe” will be instituted not just during the Holy Week but throughout the summer, Cruz also told The Manila Bulletin.
Apart from the routine deployment of uniformed personnel for foot and mobile patrols, police visibility will be increased in areas of convergence in five key cities in north eastern Mindanao, especially in the capital city of Butuan.
Uniformed personnel will be deployed in seaports, airports, bus terminals, malls, beach resorts, churches and other places of convergence where religious activities are set during the holy week.
The security route of “Panaad 2019” in Anticala area, northeast of this city where devotees do a yearly trek, has also been strengthened.
The public was encouraged to cooperate with the police to ensure their safety during the Holy Week observance, the region’s top cop said.
“The general public is encouraged to help and cooperate with our field units in an effort to maintain peace and order during the Holy Week and for the duration of the summer break,” said Brig. Gen. Cruz.
The regional command of PRO 13 also called on the public to take necessary safety measures to ensure that their houses are not vulnerable to break-ins, especially on days when they are visiting churches.
Tourist Cops are also mobilized in tourist destination areas like beach resorts, especially in Siargao Island, where two sporting world events will take place – the 2019 World Game Fishing Tourney on April 11-15, 2019, and the 2019 World Surfing Cup in September, 2019.
The regional, provincial, and city mobile and special forces battalion are already in their designated areas for the whole duration of Holy Week and summer break, Brig. Gen. Cruz added.
Combat troops of the Army’s 401st Infantry (Unity) Brigade in Surigao provinces and 402nd Infantry (Stingers) Brigade in Agusan provinces are also mobilized to assist the police in law enforcement functions.
Maj. Gen. Franco Nemesio M. Gacal, commanding general of the Army’s north eastern and Northern Mindanao 4th Infantry (Diamond) Division also ordered all field unit commanders to assist the PNP during the Lenten and summer breaks, Capt. Regie H. Go, 4th ID regional spokesperson also said.