AFTER Cebu City was ranked as the eighth safest in Southeast Asia in an online survey, the Cebu City Police (CCPO) said that their efforts finally paid off.
CCPO Director Joel Doria, though, pointed out that they had help from the community.
“There are factors like our intelligence-gathering, the participation of the community as well as the media that helped the police in the prevention (of crime). When the community is aware of security tips they get from the media, crime is prevented,” Doria said.
Aside from crime, Doria said that operations against drugs have been sustained through the Oplan Pokemon.
“We catch a minimum of 70 suspected drug users and pushers every week,” he said.
He said that they will conduct more checkpoints and motorstops to prevent crimes perpetrated by motorcycle-riding suspects.
“We need to be one step ahead against the criminals who are scheming something bad in our city,” Doria said.
Supt. Reyman Tolentin, Police Regional Office 7 spokesperson, said that they were happy with the results of Numbeo online survey.
“We will exert more effort and we will aim to be on the top. We will conduct more operations,” Tolentin said.
With the impending six-month closure of Boracay, a famous island destination, Tolentin assured tourists and locals who will flock to Central Visayas instead that the city will continue to be safe.
“We will conduct more simulations as preparation because Cebu is expected to be an alternate for Boracay,” he said.
Recently, the Armed Forces of the Philippines-Central Command (Centcom) and the police conducted a capability demonstration in Oslob, Cebu against terrorism.
Meanwhile, Cebu City Mayor Tomas Osmeña attributed the city’s high rankings to the collective efforts of the community, Doria’s leadership, City Office for Substance Abuse Prevention Chief Garry Lao and deputy mayor for police matters Councilor Dave Tumulak, among others.
“Most of all, it’s because of the people of Cebu, their cooperation. The texts I get are very valuable information, which the police can’t even get because people report to me what’s happening in their barangays. I forward this to the police. I hope the people will continue to report to me. Without that it’s very hard. Like looking for fish in a very dirty ocean,” he told reporters.
Numbeo, an online database that provides living conditions of cities worldwide, ranked Cebu City as the eighth safest in Southeast Asia based on crime index per city.
Osmeña said the people might have seen how safe and secure the Sinulog celebrations have been in the past two years with the absence of street parties and a liquor ban, among others.
In a related development, Centcom Commander Lt. General Paul Atal said he believes there is no need to limit the entry of tourists in Cebu.
Atal said that they are not only focusing on insurgency but on all threats, including terrorism.
“I don’t think there’s a need to limit the number of tourists coming in because we’re anticipating that with the closure of Boracay. It is expected to shift to other tourist attractions to Bohol, Cebu and Siquijor,” he added.
Boracay gained popularity locally and internationally because of its powdery white sand and turquoise water. But the influx of tourists visiting the island and the failure to enforce environmental laws, like requiring proper sewage systems, have caused it to suffer several environmental problems.
Last April 4, President Rodrigo Duterte approved the recommendation of the inter-agency task force on Boracay to close the famous beach destination for six months starting on April 26.