SECURITY in churches, bus and van terminals, sea ports, and airports will be increased as the exodus of people to the provinces continues.

Major Patrick Cinco of Task Force Davao (TFD) said around 450 personnel of Task Force Davao will be deployed throughout the city to ensure that security measures in churches and other areas of convergence will be put in place.

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Cinco said there will also be a large contingent from the Philippine National Police that will help in the implementation of security measures.

"We will also strictly conduct paneling of our K9 units against improvised explosive devices," Cinco said.

The entry and exit points of the Davao City, especially in its borders with Davao del Sur, Davao del Norte, and Bukidnon will also be heavily secured with check points and mandatory inspection of vehicles and passengers of public utilities.

Meanwhile, Superintendent Querubin Manalang, spokesperson of the Police Regional Office (PRO) in Southern Mindanao, said the police will be ready for any contingency because they expect people to travel in and out the city.

"Since the Holy Week falls under the election time and the operation plan for the vacation period, our plans for public safety are already in place," he said.

"We have set up 94 police checkpoints in the region, in cooperation with the Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) in Davao City," Manalang said.

"…we will also be inspecting cars or the persons who might be carrying guns so please cooperate," Manalang said.

Manalang added that the public is also advised to be careful especially in crowded areas.

"Immediately report to us if you see unattended bags or see a suspicious looking person," he said.

"Pinapasabi namin na kung pwede hindi na magsuot ng mga alahas o magdala ng gamit kung pupunta sa mga lugar na maraming tao dahil agaw pansin ito sa disgrasya o snatching," Manalang said.

"Kung aalis kayo ng bahay siguraduhing may taong maiiwan sa loob o di kaya ipagbilin niyo sa mapagkakatowalaang kapit bahay para di akyatin ng magnanakaw. I lock ang pinto at isara ang kuryente ng bahay," he added.

Moreover, on the national scale, the government launched “Oplan Bantay Lakbay” for the expected rush of people to the various summer spots of the country during the summer season.

The Philippine Coast Guard has set up passenger assistance centers to anticipate the volume of passengers who will flock sea ports nationwide from March 29 to April 14.

Coast Guard commandant Admiral Wilfredo Tamayo said they have set hotlines and text lines to accommodate concerns from passengers. Passengers and other concerned parties may text the Coast Guard through 0917-7243682.

Tamayo said the Coast Guard wanted to avoid a repeat of sea disasters during the Christmas season last year.

"Oplan Bantay Lakbay involves mandatory security at airports, seaports, and bus terminals to guard against criminal and terrorist elements that may take advantage of the holiday rush," Philippine National Police (PNP) spokesman Leonardo Espina told Sun.Star in a text message.

Espina said the PNP will set up police assistance centers in “strategic locations” such as the entire stretch of the Maharlika Highway from North to South Luzon, the Manila South Road from Manila to Bicol, the Manila East Road from Eastern Metro Manila to Northern Quezon, the Strong Republic Nautical Highway that passes through island provinces in Visayas and Mindanao and other major thoroughfares.

"In coastal resort areas, the Maritime Group and local PNP units are tasked to conduct seaborne patrols and other police security functions," Espina added.

All commercial establishments, shopping malls, places of worship, the Metro Rail Transit and Light Rail Transit, and other vital installations will be placed under intensive security coverage.

The Oplan Lakbay-Alalay covers the Holy Week, the fiesta and Flores de Mayo season in May, and the opening of classes on the first week of June. (Carlo P. Mallo and Jade C. Zaldivar/Sunnex)