Take precaution during Holy Week, police urge public

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Monday, April 14, 2014


THE Police Regional Office (PRO) 7 placed all its units under full alert starting yesterday to ensure public safety during Holy Week.

Senior Supt. Conrado Capa, PRO 7’s deputy regional director for operations, urged vacationers to take precautions before leaving their houses for the long weekend.

“This is the time for akyat-bahay (burglaries),” he said.

Capa visited the Cebu Provincial Police Office (CPPO) yesterday to check on the latter’s security preparations for the annual religious event.

“All provincial directors are tasked to provide security for the faithful too,” he said.

All police stations are also mandated to patrol subdivisions and residential areas.

In Bohol, Negros Oriental and Siqiujor, Capa said corresponding police supervisors will be assigned there.

Asked if there’s a particular area they will be focusing this year, he said there will be none.

“Region 7 is the most peaceful region from what I have gathered. Wala namang problema
rito (There’s no problem),” Capa said.

During a full-alert status, all leaves of absence of police personnel are canceled and all personnel are required to report for duty.

Senior Supt. Noel Gillamac, CPPO director, said they are set for the Holy Week.

Deployment

On Wednesday, a send-off ceremony will be held for the 95 police personnel who will be deployed in Bantayan Island and Minglanilla.

The annual Sugat Kabanhawan Festival will be held in Minglanilla on Easter Sunday. Bantayan Island, on the other hand, is usually full of local and foreign tourists during this period.

Aside from this, Gillamac sent a directive to all police stations to conduct public safety services, such as enforcing traffic rules in main thoroughfares.

“Dili sad dapat pwede ang maghubog-hubog (Drinking is out of the question),” he added.

In Cebu City, police will monitor the Good Shepherd Church in Barangay Banawa, Tabor Hills in Talamban, Guadalupe Church and San Nicolas Church in Guadalupe and the church in Poblacion Pardo where many faithful are expected to show up.

At least 50 civilian agents will be deployed in each church from Thursday to Sunday aside from police units from the Cebu City Police Office (CCPO).

City Intelligence Branch Chief Romeo Santander advised the public not to wear jewelry and refrain from bringing expensive gadgets.

He said he already suggested to the City Government to make sure these areas are well-lighted.

He said they have not received any reports of criminal groups arriving in the city, but he said it’s better to come up with preventive measures.

Common crimes

Pickpockets, snatchers and hold-uppers are common during the Holy Week, he said.

Santander said they alerted owners of apartments and pension houses situated near
business establishments to be on guard.

“We do not know if there might be criminal elements taking advantage of those establishments that will be closed for the Holy Week so preemptive measures must be done,” he said.

Cebu City Mayor Michael Rama, for his part, has ordered the CCPO to secure and maintain public safety and security.

Rama conducted a command conference yesterday along with CCPO Director Senior Supt. Noli Romana, station commanders in the 11 police stations in the city and special units, including representatives from the Bureau of Fire and Protection, disaster team, Parish Security Group and department heads, among others.

Rama said he wants all the personnel to be well-prepared as many are expected to troop to the city for Lenten activities.

“I want them to be vigilant, to be prepared,” he said.

The mayor instructed all station chiefs to monitor their areas of responsibility, particularly those with churches and other religious sites.

Ambulances will also be deployed in different areas that will stage Holy Week activities.

Rama also instructed police, particularly those who will be conducting checkpoints, to apprehend vehicles without plate numbers and motorcycle drivers and passengers without helmets.

Published in the Sun.Star Cebu newspaper on April 15, 2014.

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