Getting ready for Holy Week-A A +A
Wednesday, March 20, 2013
OPERATIVES of the Cebu Provincial Police Office (CPPO) will have their eyes on Minglanilla, which will host the annual Sugat Kabanhawan Festival on Easter Sunday.
The Sugat refers to the reunion of the resurrected Christ and his mother Mary.
CPPO Director Senior Supt. Patrocinio Comendador, who was in Camotes Island yesterday for an inspection, told Sun.Star Cebu they will focus on the southern town because they’ve had a problem there with crowd control.
“Daghan gyud kaayo ang tawo sa una (Many people flock there to watch the Sugat),” he said.
He said they will also watch Bantayan Island, which remains a favorite destination for foreign and local tourists during this occasion.
“I’ve noticed that the crime rate is also low during these times,” Comendador said.
Last year, the CPPO established 103 public assistance centers in strategic areas like piers, churches and tourism spots, among others. And although the province is home to 243 beaches, only 22 were considered “busy.”
The CPPO has the province into eight areas that will be supervised by police officials.
Before the end of this week, the Police Regional Office (PRO) 7 will call a command conference with all provincial and city directors to discuss security and order plan for the Holy Week. A heightened alert status might also be declared.
Police personnel will also be detailed in transport terminals and religious sites where crowds are expected to flock for religious activities.
Police will also be on the lookout for petty thieves, who will take advantage of the huge crowd.
For its part, the Regional Management Council (RMC) of the Department of Transportation and Communication will put up help desks at the ports, airport and bus terminals starting on March 23 to April 2 to assist the public.
The RMC is a group of government agencies which are under DOTC, such as the Cebu Port Authority (CPA), the Maritime Industry Authority (Marina), the Philippine Coast Guard, the Mactan-Cebu International Airport Authority, the Land Transportation Office (LTO) and the Land Transportation Franchising and Regulatory Board (LTFRB).
CPA General Manager Dennis Villamor said they will also involve the PNP Maritime Command, the Philippine National Red Cross, the Oriental Port and Allied Services (Opascor), shipping lines and the radio volunteer group to maximize safety and security efforts in protecting land and sea passengers.
Opascor will have an ambulance ready to response to any emergency, Villamor said.
He said they’ve doubled the security guards in all base ports in Cebu City, from Pier 1 to Pier 5, and in all ports in Cebu Province like those located in the cities of Toledo, Bogo and Danao and in the towns of Sta. Fe, Santander, Dumanhug, Argao, Badian, Tabuelan, Carmen and San Remigio.
The CPA will assign at least one CPA policeman to supervise and lead the security guards.
The CPA will also double the number of utility workers to maintain toilets and port terminal lounges.
“We will be providing wi-fi, drinking water and even hot water for children’s milk and 24-hour guarding,” Villamor said.
In a related development, LTO 7 Director Raul Aguilos said they will launch Oplan Ligtas at 6 a.m. on March 26 at the Cebu South Bus Terminal. They will conduct random roadworthiness tests of buses, conduct lectures on road safety and defensive driving, conduct roadside random drug tests, and put up help desks in all bus terminals and will monitor bus overloading and overcharging.
“Likewise, all these activities will be done in other provinces throughout the region until April 1,” Aguilos said.
LTFRB 7 Director Ahmed Cuizon said they will issue special permits for out-of-line operations, inspect terminals and randomly check franchises of public utility vehicles.
Published in the Sun.Star Cebu newspaper on March 20, 2013.