School start generally peaceful — Albayalde

REGULAR classes formally opened yesterday with police describing the event as generally peaceful as officials ordered a massive crackdown against criminality, addressed perennial bullying cases and pressed the drive against overloaded tricycles and motorcycles ferrying students to different public and private elementary and high schools nationwide.

“The opening of classes this morning went smoothly with no untoward incidents. Everything’s going on smoothly and there are no reports of any incident so far,” Philippine National Police chief Director General Oscar D. Albayalde said.

The PNP chief ordered all 17 PNP all Regional Directors to deploy enough police forces to secure the class opening yesterday. A total of  of 149,484  PNP personnel and “force multipliers” were mobilized for the security and safety of schools and students nationwide, the PNP chief told newsmen at Camp Crame.

The PNP chief said they are also getting much-needed help from their different stakeholders including barangay security officers, Parents-Teachers Association and local government units in their effort to ensure “zero incident” during the class opening.

“Even as we are busy with opening of classes, we assure the public that the PNP is committed to continue providing security coverage for public safety services, and implement various crime prevention operations, focusing on the Enhanced Managing Police Operations Strategy and the campaign against illegal drugs to maintain peace and order in our communities,” Gen. Albayalde said.

The country’s top cop said he has ordered his men to monitor illegal drug activities inside and outside campuses and added they are banking on the support of school authorities and students themselves in reporting the presence of illegal drugs in their areas.

“We appeal to the public to remain vigilant and alert against criminal elements that may take advantage due to influx of students and parents to schools and public places. Do not hesitate to call the attention of the authorities, especially our deployed PNP personnel for appropriate assistance,” he said.

Gen. Albayalde cited the case of a grade schooler in Quezon City who was arrested a few years ago for possession of marijuana. He said that schoolmates of the young rascal tipped off the authorities on his illegal activity which resulted in his arrest.

There have also been cases of high school students who have been apprehended by the police for involvement in illegal drug trafficking and abuse over the past three years.