By Penelope Endozo
Philippine Daily Inquirer
First Posted 13:56:00 04/10/2011
MANILA, Philippines – The Southern Police District (SPD) assured the public of its anti-crime and public safety plan a week before the Holy Week or “Semana Santa.”
SPD Chief Superintendent Jose Arne De Los Santos ordered the seven police station chiefs and support units covering cities of Taguig, Muntinlupa, Paranaque, Las Pinas, Pasay and Makati, as well as Pateros municipality, to implement their enhanced security plans from April 17 to 23, with expected alert peak on Maundy Thursday, Good Friday and Black Saturday.
“Semana Santa is a marked date, so we already have a plan for the security of travelers and commuters who will leave and come back from provinces or vacation trips,” said De Los Santos.
As gateway to southern provinces such as Laguna, Batangas, Cavite, Quezon and Bicol region, SPD will provide added protection to bus and jeepney terminals mostly in Pasay City, airports in Paranaque City, convergence points in Makati and Muntinlupa, MRT-LRT southbound railways, and churches.
After early this year’s bus bombing crisis, De Los Santos said a pair of bus marshals in plain clothes will also make surprise inspections inside busses heading toward southbound routes.
De Los Santos said that an average of 1,300 police have been deployed as part of daily Police Integrated Patrol System (PIPS) for police visibility, checkpoints, mobile patrol in the Metro South.
Post multipliers such as village watchmen part of the Barangay Peace Action Team (BFAT) trained by the SPD have been added to watch over subdivisions and villages. Each BFAT shall be answerable to a police supervisor in a designated area.
Sixty-two Air Force reserved personnel have also provided additional security to airports and cargo areas, while security and crowd control police will be concentrated on churches, where people mostly flock during Holy Week.
Tips for travelers
SPD spokesperson Chief Insp. Jenny Tecson advised travelers and commuters of the following safety measures:
For home security, lock all doors and windows; set burglar alarms if available; avoid open invitation to burglars by leaving notes stating house owners are not around; inform trusted neighbor of trip’s departure and return; turn off gas stoves; unplug all appliances, not even leaving the radio to deceive robbers of the unmanned house; don’t leave things like clothes or bikes usually left outside the house.
For commuters, be early at least one hour ahead of their departure time at terminals for the baggage inspections and identity checks by police; notify police or guards when suspicious-looking bags or people have been sighted in the terminal or public transport; avoid wearing jewelries or other accessories that might attract attention of robbers; and estimate the baggage only corresponding to the duration of the trip to avoid luggage losses or misplacement that add woes to inspection lines.
For car owners, bring a safety kit with B-L-O-W-B-A-G (batteries, light, oil, water, brakes, air, gas); bring complete driving documents, including insurance certificates; designated driver should be alert at all times; and avoid one-hand driving or texting while on the wheels.
“SPD is different from other districts, because each of the 7 cities have different urban characteristics,” Tecson said in Filipino. Pasay is known for its pockets of bus terminals, Paranaque is a convergence point for air travels, Makati is the main business district, Muntinlupa is exit point to the South Luzon Expressway, while Las Pinas is home to strips of subdivisions, to cite a few.
The SPD spokesperson said their increased presence in coordination with private security agencies, barangay watchmen and civilian volunteer officers are necessary to prevent crimes by lawless elements and terrorist groups who may take advantage of the Holy Week.