Over 12K cops, force multipliers deployed to Bicol for Holy Week, summer

Arnel Escobal

A TOTAL of 5,724 policemen backed up by over 7,400 “force multipliers” from different local government units and volunteer groups were mobilized to secure  Holy Week and the rest of  summer  in the entire Bicol region, Police Regional Office 5 director Brig. Gen. Arnel Escobal said yesterday.

“Although we have not monitored any direct threat to disrupt peace and order in the region, we are not lowering our guard  and are on alert 24/7 to ensure the security of all Bicolanos and our guests and other visitors,” Escobal told the Journal Group.

The official said that their Oplan: Ligtas SUMVAC 2019 will be in force until June 12.

As part of the security preparations, Escobal said that over 12,000 policemen and “force multipliers” were deployed in different places of convergence, transportation hubs/terminals and highways heading to tourist destinations, seaports and airports in Bicol.

The preparations also cover route security and intensified measures, including police visibility on vital installations, checkpoints, internal security operation and other police operations.

Escobal said they are coordinating with their various partner-agencies, force multipliers and their counterparts from the Armed Forces,  along with the mobilization of Barangay Peacekeeping Action Teams or BPATs,  barangay tanods, traffic enforcers, security guards and volunteers groups from different NGOs and radio groups in the region.

“In every endeavor, we have recognized the imperative role that our partners and stakeholders play in truly attaining a safe and peaceful celebration of our activities,” the official said.

Escobal said that the high security alert aims to ensure public order and safeguard motorists, commuters, students, local and foreign tourists and others who are set to go to Bicol, especially those coming from Manila and other nearby provinces.

Aside from the summer vacation, the Bicol police also anticipated other significant activities such as the Lenten Season, Labor Day, National Flag Day, Flores de Mayo and the most awaited 2019 Midterm National and Local Elections on May 13.

Escobal said they have already tightened their law enforcement activities through  focused law enforcement operations and enhanced crime investigation, aggressive operations against suspected terror groups and criminal gangs, and manhunt operations against wanted persons.

“In addition, we also sought the help of the social media to increase awareness and inform the public of the safety tips and reminders to be undertaken. This is to prevent the people from being targets of individual and criminal groups,” he said.

Escobal also directed the provincial, city and municipal police stations to maximize their presence to ensure the protection of the vacationers who will visit tourist destinations in their respective areas.

“We assure the public that the PNP will ensure that this year’s summer vacation will be peaceful and secured as outlined in our anti-criminality campaign dubbed “Oplan: Ligtas SUMVAC,” he said.

Escobal appealed to the public to report any activity that may distract Ligtas SUMVAC 2019 through their social media facebook account (Kasurog Bicol) or twitter account@PRO5 React.

Any information may also be relayed to their hotline 09173097862 or to the nearest police station.