Manila Mayor Joseph “Erap” Estrada on Sunday commanded the Manila Police District to start stepping up security measures in the city to ensure the safe and secured travel of motorists and commuters this coming Lenten season.
The MPD’s top priority, Estrada said, is to maintain peace and order throughout the Holy Week and during the entire two-month summer holiday.
“We can’t let our guard down, we do not have such luxury when protecting the safety of our constituents,” Estrada pointed out amid the earlier confirmation made by the Philippine National Police that a terrorist cell from the Maute group in Lanao Del Sur is currently operating in Metro Manila.
After meeting with Estrada, MPD director Chief Supt. Joel Coronel said they have activated their “Oplan Sumvac” (short for summer vacation) operational plan starting with the deployment of 760 policemen to different churches in the city starting Palm Sunday.
The 760-strong security contingent is part of the 1,680 MPD lawmen that were assigned to security and counter-terrorism missions in the capital under Oplan Sumvac, Coronel said.
“By the start of the month of April, we are already implementing our operational plan Sumvac 2017 and part of that is our Semana Santa preparations,” Coronel said.
Uniformed and non-uniformed policemen, Coronel said, will be deployed to bus terminals, seaports such as Manila North and Manila South harbors, and other areas of public convergence.
“There will be no traffic rerouting since Maundy Thursday and Good Friday are holidays,” Coronel said.
In Quezon City, Mayor Herbert Bautista has also placed on alert mode all police, traffic, rescue and barangay personnel to ensure the orderly and peaceful observance of the Holy Week.
Bautista’s directive calls for heightened police visibility in all bus terminals and other passenger holding areas in the city, including terminals of the Metro Rail Transit, to deter criminal activities and other lawless acts.
To secure bus terminals and MRT stations, the QCPD was ordered to set up police assistance centers and conduct 24/7 foot, mobile and motorcycle patrols.
Bautista also ordered the deployment of patrol cars along residential areas and in places holding “cenaculo and “pabasa.”
The mayor said the 50 patrol cars acquired recently by the city government for the QCPD can be used for this purpose.
Even with the heightened police visibility, Bautista said it is imperative for city residents to observe extra-precautionary measures for their personal security and safety especially if they go out-of-town during the Holy Week.
The mayor also instructed the QC department of public order and safety to coordinate closely with the QCPD for the Holy Week security and law enforcement operations.
The city’s rescue team, on the other hand, has been mobilized to respond to any emergency that may arise during the Lenten season.
Bautista has also enlisted the support of the city’s barangay security development officers in the peace and order effort.
The Lenten break starts on April 13, Maundy Thursday.
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