By Aaron Recuenco
Police forces around the country were placed under the highest security alert effective Monday, ahead of the observance of the All Saints’ and All Souls’ Day.
Lt. Gen. Archie Gamboa, officer-in-charge of the Philippine National Police (PNP), said all leaves of absence of policemen are cancelled until such time that the full alert status is lifted.
“Effective today (Monday), I am placing the entire PNP on full alert to ensure the availability of all personnel and resources for law enforcement and public safety operations ahead of the traditional All Saints’ Day and All Souls’ Day holiday this coming weekend,” said Gamboa.
More than 35,000 policemen will be deployed in cemeteries and columbaries across the country. The policemen will be augmented by almost 100,000 volunteers from various government agencies and non-government organizations.
Gamboa said he has instructed police commanders to secure all the 83 airports and domestic air terminals, 333 seaports, 808 bus terminals and 59 train stations nationwide.
At least 15 million people are expected to troop to churches and cemeteries for the All Saints’ and All Souls’ Days. Those in Metro Manila are expected to go to their respective provinces.
Part of his instruction, according to Gamboa, is for policemen to set up command posts where they could address security-related issues and emergencies such as missing children and traffic gridlocks.
Policemen were also tasked to ensure that no drinking session, gambling and other parties would be held inside the cemeteries to avoid trouble.
“The key element in this security operation is police visibility, considering both its crime deterrent and reassuring effect on the public,” noted Gamboa.
“This is the general guidance to all Police Regional Offices and National Support Units. My standing order to all units and personnel is to remain visible at all times,” he added.