ALL security preparations are in place to ensure the safety of students, the teachers and the general public as regular classes resume in most government and private schools today in Metro Manila and other parts of the country, Philippine National Police chief, Director General Oscar D. Albayalde said yesterday.
The PNP chief said he has ordered the deployment of at least 120,000 policemen nationwide as millions of students troop back to elementary and high schools. The PNP will be present to ensure the safety of the returning students and the rest of the public and address all kinds of threats and even bullying cases in different learning institutions.
According to the PNP chief, police may conduct inspection of dormitories and schools in their areas upon invitation by local school authorities. Other police efforts are geared at addressing bullying in schools and gather intelligence information to thwart threats posed by kidnapping and robbery-holdup gangs and other syndicates engaged in different modus operandi to steal from their targets.
“Along 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,” he added.
Gen. Albayalde said they will establish Police Assistance Desks (PADs) in all school campuses nationwide in coordination with the Department of Education, Commission on Higher Education, school authorities, local government units, and their other ‘force multipliers.’
Albayalde assured the public that the PNP is committed to provide security coverage for public safety services and institute various crime prevention operations, focusing on the Enhanced Managing Police Operations Strategy to maintain peace and order within and around the vicinity of schools.
In Metro Manila, National Capital Region Police Office director, Major General Guillermo Lorenzo T. Eleazar said they are fully ready for the scheduled opening of classes and are keeping in close touch with school authorities to address all threats posed by criminals and even bomb threats.
The official said over 7,000 police officers and men will be deployed in different public and private schools and other universities in Metro Manila during class opening with majority of the personnel set to man PADs and are under orders to immediately provide help to students and the rest of the public.
Eleazar said police marshals will also ride buses, taxis, jeepneys and the Light Railway Transit (LRT) and Metro Railway Transit (MRT) trains as part of their security measures aimed at deterring the presence of criminals known for taking advantage of the school opening to victimize students and even teachers.
Police will also be taking over the enforcement of traffic rules and regulations in the school vicinities in coordination with local school and barangay authorities and the Metro Manila Development Authority. Eleazar said they will be likewise getting support from more than 8,600 ‘force multipliers’ from local government units and non-governmental organizations.
Eleazar said different police district authorities in Metro Manila have been discussing their security preparations with school authorities in their areas regularly. Apart from keeping a watch on drug dealers, robbers, muggers and con artists known for targeting students during the school opening, the NCRPO director said they have also discussed their standard measures on how to deal with bomb threats.
The NCRPO chief likewise ordered the Metro Manila-wide enforcement of traffic laws specifically those pertaining to overloaded motorcycles, tricycles, jeepneys and other school service vehicles in line with their Oplan: Disiplina and their measure to protect school children from street dangers.
An estimated 25 million students in different levels are expected to return to their schools and universities this month with the PNP in pursuit of its strategic goal of “zero crime incident in all school and university areas” during the period and the rest of the school days.
Gen. Albayalde said he wants at least two policemen to guard each school in Metro Manila and the rest of the country and has given his regional directors to raise their alert level depending on the prevailing peace and order condition on their areas.
According to PNP spokesman, Colonel Bernard M. Banac, of priority concern to the PNP are incidents of street crimes such as pickpocketing, snatching, swindling, robbery/hold-up, and street-level drug trafficking.
Police patrols in the vicinity of schools will also be on the look-out for drug traffickers, muggers, and violent street gangs that may infiltrate the ranks of students, he added.
The PNP chief’s foremost reminder to students when they return to their schools: please refrain from using their cell phones in public since these gadgets act as magnets for criminals.”