Full alert for undas

October 28, 2019
Archie Francisco F. Gamboa
COAST GUARD ALSO ON ALERT. Newly-appointed Philippine Coast Guard commandant Vice Admiral Joel Garcia (front, L) inspects Israeli-made Tavor submachine guns issued to coast guards’ Special Operation Force (CGSOF) during send off ceremony at the coastguard headquarters in Manila yesterday. Coast guard personnel were dispatched to different sea ports as part of the security preparations for the annual tradition of visiting the graves of loved ones, on All Souls’ Day on November 1, when millions of Filipinos are expected to head for the provinces. / AFP / Ted ALJIBE

No peace and order threat but PNP not taking any chances

ALTHOUGH no terror threat has been monitored, Philippine National Police Officer-in-Charge Lieutenant General Archie Francisco F. Gamboa yesterday placed the 195,000-strong police force on full alert to ensure a generally peaceful observation of All Saints’ Day and All Souls’ Day this week.

“Effective today, I am placing the entire Philippine National Police 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,” the PNP-OIC said in a prepared statement.

Under full alert status, all leaves given to PNP personnel are cancelled to guarantee 100 percent presence of personnel to perform police functions. 

Gen. Gamboa said that in “in general, they have not monitored any terror threats but we are prepared for that.” He added that all police regional directors have been given the discretion to pour more cops into their areas depending on the prevailing peace and order condition.

“We will be fielding over 35,000 police personnel from the Police Regional Offices and National Support Units to perform security and public safety duties this weekend when an estimated 15 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,” Gamboa said.

The official said that all 17 Police Regional Offices and the different PNP National Support Units will mobilize more than 99,000 force multipliers from Local Government Units, civic action groups, civilian volunteer organizations and motoring clubs to man Police Assistance Centers tasked to provide road assistance and public safety services.

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, he added.

“The key element in this security operation is police visibility, considering both its crime deterrent and reassuring effect on the public. 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,” Gamboa said.

The PNP-OIC also alerted all local police units 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 impersonations of priests and long-lost relatives, and possession of deadly weapons and other prohibited items.

Gamboa said that he and his field commanders will also conduct walk-thru inspection in major land, sea and air transportation terminals to assess the readiness of PNP units before Friday.

“But even as these security and public safety efforts get underway, aggressive anti-illegal drugs operations will continue without let-up against possible pot sessions and drug trafficking activities in public cemeteries and memorial parks this weekend,” he said.