CEBU CITY: The Philippine National Police (PNP) in Central and Western Visayas, as well as the Caraga region raised a heightened alert for all police personnel as people troop to the provinces for the Holy Week.
Chief Supt. Manuel Gaerlan, Police Regional Office (PRO) 7 director, said they deployed police officers in several tourist spots in Central Visayas, like Panglao Island in Bohol, Bantayan Island and Malapascua Island in Cebu, to secure local and foreign tourists during the long weekend.
Policemen are also assigned in major churches where activities like Visita Iglesia and the religious processions are conducted on Maundy Thursday and Black Friday.
Gaerlan said seaports and bus terminals are also secured by the police.
Likewise, Cebu Provincial Police Office (CPPO) officer-in-charge Senior Supt. Clifford Gairanod said about 55 police officers were deployed to Bantayan Island and supervised by three police officials.
The Regional Public Safety Batallion (RPSB) 7 was also tapped to augment the officers that secure Cebu South Bust Terminal on N. Bacalso Avenue, Cebu City to secure passengers.
In Antique, Police Senior Supt. Louis Garong said that security operations for the Holy Week have been in place with all PPO units and personnel in full alert status.
He said stations and public safety company were directed to provide maximum police visibility, increase of check points, maintain security in vital installations, economic key points, ensure high state of operational readiness to deter criminal activities and thwart any hostile actions that may be launched by threat groups.
Task Group “Semana Santa” 2016 was also created to ensure the implementation of the security plan for the traditional event.
In Caraga region, Chief Supt. Rolando Felix said they have already laid out the anti-criminality campaign dubbed as “Ligtas SUMVAC 2016” or (Safe Summer Vacation 2016) and its immediate implementation.
Felix said that all security measures are currently in place to keep the streets and all roads leading to churches, to the tourist spots and all other places of destinations safe and secure.
Police visibility has been intensified through increased foot and mobile patrols, check points, and establishment of police assistance desks in places of convergence.
The only possible threats here are the “enterprising” petty criminals who may take advantage of the occasion and hit innocent visitors and tourists. There were no significant threats, according to Felix, from any organized or large criminal groups operating here in the area.
Meanwhile, the Philippine Coast Guard (PCG) in Western Visayas was also put to heightened alert status from March 21-27 as part of its “Oplan Semana Santa”.
PCG Iloilo Commander Joemark Angue said that additional personnel have been deployed in passenger terminals to conduct inspection.
K-9 units were also deployed to assist the Philippine Ports Authority (PPA) in the inspection of baggage and cargos to ensure smooth flow of passenger embarking and disembarking the vessels.
Six rescue boats are on standby along the Iloilo-Guimaras Strait on Good Friday as the PCG anticipated the influx of passengers who will witness the annual “Ang Pagtatal sa Balaan Bukid” in Jordan, Guimaras.