SOME 20,000 uniformed policemen will be deployed around universities and colleges all over the country with the expected influx of millions of students for the first day of classes today.
Philippine National Police (PNP) spokesman and Chief Supt. Reuben Theodore Sindac on Sunday said of the 18,880 policemen tapped for duty on the opening of classes, 2,500 will be assigned around the university district of Manila and other schools in the National Capital Region.
A total of 7,441 police assistance desks (PADs) will also be established nationwide in coordination with local government units (LGUs), Parents-Teachers Associations (PTAs) and non-government organizations (NGOs).
Sindac said mobile and foot patrols will also be fielded to augment village (barangay) watchmen deployed along major routes leading to all learning institutions and within the immediate vicinity of schools.
Of priority concern to the PNP are incidents of bullying and street crimes such as picking pockets, snatching, swindling, robbery/hold-up and street-level drug trafficking.
According to Sindac, local PNP units were instructed to coordinate closely with school administrators and officials of the Department of Education (DepEd) and to increase police visibility in school premises to prevent out-of-school youth from bullying students during the whole school year.
He said the security coverage will be provided by established PADs together with LGUs, PTAs and volunteer groups in all airports, seaports, transport terminals and other areas of convergence nationwide.
In Metro Manila, Senior Supt. Ariel Arcinas, operations chief of the National Capital Region Police Office (NCRPO), said their explosive ordnance disposal units have also been placed on stand-by alert for possible bomb threats in schools and K-9 units would also be deployed in strategic locations.
He added that the NCRPO has already coordinated with the universities and colleges on how to deal with bomb threats.
At the same time, the PNP has also provided safety reminders and tips to prevent crimes and accidents in schools, advising parents to have constant communication with the teachers or security guards of the school, and to let their children know who will fetch them at the end of their class.
Students were also cautioned from talking with strangers by keeping their distance or not talking to them at all. They were also advised to avoid wearing jewelry, bringing large amount of money or using expensive phones while in the streets.
An Inter-Agency Convergence Meeting headed by the DepEd was conducted on May 23 where commonly encountered problems during this period were addressed.
As millions of students will report to their classes, the Metropolitan Manila Development Authority (MMDA) will also be deploying more of its personnel.
Emerson Carlos, MMDA assistant general manager for operations, also on Sunday said at least 1,600 personnel will be deployed in areas near schools.
To be fielded are traffic enforcers, laborers and street sweepers for traffic management, sidewalk and road-obstruction clearing and anti-jaywalking drive.
“We will focus on Ramon Magsaysay along Edsa in Cubao [Quezon City], University Belt area, Camanava area, along Commonwealth and Batasan [also]in Quezon City,” Carlos said in his weekly radio program.
University Belt refers to a section of Manila where many colleges and universities are located and Camanava, to Caloocan, Malabon, Navotas and Valenzuela cities, all in Metro Manila.
Since only elementary and high schools will open on Monday, Carlos said the MMDA still expects traffic to be smooth during the first week of June.
In the next few weeks, traffic enforcers will man and monitor areas where there are expected minor traffic build-ups due to frequent stopovers to bringing students to and fetching them from schools.
Carlos said the MMDA will also intensify implementation of its anti-jaywalking campaign to help maintain the safety of pedestrians and the students.
The anti-smoking enforcement group will also be busy in reminding commercial establishments that no cigarettes should be sold within 100 meters of school premises.
Meanwhile, he announced that a 20-percent discount in Pasig ferry fare will be given to students starting today.
The Pasig ferry will also extend its operations until Saturday, he added.
In addition, Carlos said the operations will be extended from 6 a.m. to 6 p.m.