By Martin Sadongdong
The nationwide alert status was downgraded to “normal” by the Philippine National Police (PNP) effective Tuesday except in Mindanao.
The entire police force had earlier been placed on full alert status by Police General Oscar Albayalde, PNP Chief, in preparation for the 2019 midterm elections, summer vacation and Holy Week.
Since that period was over, Albayalde explained the nationwide alert status may now be downgraded.
He, however, clarified that the regional directors of Police Regional Offices 1 to 8, Cordillera (PRO-COR) and the National Capital Region Police Office (NCRPO) were given discretion to raise the alert level “if deemed necessary and based on the prevailing threat situation.”
The PNP Chief noted that Mindanao remains on full alert status since martial law is being implemented in the area.
“Our police force will continue to be aggressive and intelligence-driven against criminal gangs, terrorists and lawless elements as we intensify our focused police operations to address threats and violence,” Albayalde stated.
The PNP has three alert levels as stated in its Memorandum Circular Number 18-2013. These are normal, heightened and full alert.
With normal alert status, the police force is expected to perform their normal duties. The hours of a cop’s duty are extended during heightened and full alert levels.
In addition, the PNP will deploy 120,000 PNP personnel nationwide as part of its security and safety plans for the opening of school classes on Monday, June 3.
“Along [with] these efforts, we set our plans with enough number of police force to be deployed to launch mobile and foot patrols along major routes and highways for the 2019 ‘Balik Eskwela’ leading to all schools and other learning institutions,” Albayalde said.
In Metro Manila, Police Major General Guillermo Eleazar earlier disclosed that 7,153 cops will be fielded on the streets to secure the public on the day of the opening of school classes.
Consequently, Eleazar made rounds in several schools and universities in the metro on Tuesday to ensure the readiness and alertness of policemen for the 2019 Balik Eskwela program.
Eleazar noted that police marshalls will also be deployed in transportation terminals to secure the traveling students.
“We will be everywhere, especially our police detectives who are ready to secure the students and other commuters,” he said.
According to Albayalde, the PNP will establish police assistance desks (PADs) in all school campuses and other learning institutions nationwide in coordination with the Department of Education (DepEd), Commission on Higher Education (CHEd), school authorities, local government units (LGUs) and barangay force multipliers.
The country’s top cop also stressed that part of their police efforts are the strengthening of their programs to address bullying in schools, prevent kidnappings, thwart incidents of bomb explosions and other criminal activities.
“The PNP is committed to provide security coverage for public safety services and institute various crime prevention operations, focusing on Enhanced Managing Police Operations Strategy to maintain peace and order within and around the vicinity of schools,” Albayalde concluded.