1,934 more police in Cebu for APEC

THE public can expect to see more random checkpoints and patrols after the Police Regional Office (PRO) 7 went on full alert starting yesterday for the security of APEC delegates.

Seven delegates from Mexico, Australia and United States arrived yesterday, while local organizers fine-tuned preparations for the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) meetings in Cebu.

More than 3,800 officers from different police units will serve in the security force for the meetings.

A total of 1,934 police officers from different units arrived yesterday morning. About 914 more are expected in the coming days.

Chief Supt. Prudencio Tom Bañas, PRO 7 director, appealed to the public to help the police keep the APEC events orderly and safe. No police officer is allowed to go on leave while the meetings are ongoing.

Starting on Saturday, trucks will no longer be allowed to use several roads in Cebu City from 6 a.m. to 10 p.m. to ease the trips of APEC delegates.

These roads include J. Luna St. to Salinas Drive, Salinas Drive to Veterans Drive and J. Luna corner Archbishop Reyes to Gorordo Ave. and Archbishop Reyes Ave.

Mayor Michael Rama extended the truck ban through Memorandum Order 20150167 yesterday. It will start to take effect on Aug. 22.

Two more dry runs were conducted yesterday by the security sector to make sure that road congestion won’t delay the delegates’ trips from their hotels to the other meeting venues.

Unlike the first dry run last week, the convoy took a longer time to get from one point to another because they did not use sirens.

“We did not have any communication from the lead of the convoy, that is why we need to rely on the feedback of our field personnel,” said Cebu City Transportation Office (CCTO) operations chief Jonathan Tumulak, who stayed on J. Luna Ave. during the dry runs.

He said that the convoy ran into some traffic on S. Osmeña Blvd. because of big vehicles such as trailer and delivery trucks.

Preparations for the APEC meetings also merited a mention in Cebu Gov. Hilario Davide III’s annual report yesterday, when he urged everyone to “show the best of Cebu” to all the delegates. (See related story, A1)

Out of 8,798 police personnel in Central Visayas, a total of 1,932 will be deployed for the meetings, said Supt. Renato Dugan, officer-in-charge of the Regional Personnel and Human Resource Development Division.

Senior Supt. Noel Gillamac, Cebu Provincial Police Office director, said that more than 500 of the province’s 1,789 personnel were tapped to help secure the meetings.

Local police offices will take care of their billeting arrangements, while Camp Crame is providing their meal allowances, said Dugan.

While the police welcomed the arrival of additional officers, Cebu City’s traffic authorities sent out convoys at 9 a.m. and 4 p.m. from the Shangri-la Mactan Resort and Spa in Lapu-Lapu City to Mandaue and on to Marco Polo Plaza Hotel in Nivel Hills, Cebu City.

CCTO Executive Director Rey Gealon said traffic flow on Pope John Paul St. remained smooth despite a large number of vehicles.

He stayed there for the tests, because that road was earlier identified as one spot where the delegates may be delayed.

The truck ban, which is intended to decongest the APEC routes, was discussed with some truck operators before the mayor gave his orders, Tumulak said.

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