Starting Thursday, November 30, the public will be seeing more policemen deployed along major roads in Manila and in commercial areas and establishments in anticipation of the expected crime surge during Christmas season, Mayor Joseph Estrada said on Monday.
Estrada has tasked the Manila Police District to implement its holiday security measures to protect the people, in particular Christmas shoppers in the city’s major commercial areas—Divisoria, Binondo, Ermita, and Malate.
“We’ve been doing this every year so don’t be alarmed. This is just to protect you against petty criminals and to maintain peace and order,” Estrada said.
The fielding of extra uniformed policemen along major roads and so-called places of convergence such as malls, public markets, parks and plazas, transport terminals, and churches are “routine” procedures during Christmas season, Estrada reminded.
“It doesn’t mean that we are under serious (terror) threats,” he added, referring to earlier reports that Metro Manila is being targeted by Muslim extremists and sympathizers of the defeated Maute-ISIS group in Marawi.
MPD director Chief Supt. Joel Coronel said the deployment of additional police personnel will start on Nov. 30 and will concentrate in Binondo, Divisoria, Ermita and Malate.
“As with the previous years, we will put up police assistance desks in the malls and other public places where anyone who needs emergency help can go, and, of course, this will serve as deterrent to criminals,” he pointed out.
Coronel said the hundreds of police personnel deployed in the recent Association of Southeast Asian Nations Summit will also be the same ones to be deployed in these areas.
“Christmas is near. And after the ASEAN Summit, there are a lot of people who’ve been going to Divisoria and Binondo areas,” he said.
“There are almost one million shoppers who have visited Divisoria, around 700,000 already during the last weekend”•Saturday and Sunday, Nov. 11 and 12″•for their early Christmas shopping,” Coronel said in illustrating the increasing number of Christmas shoppers in Manila.
The MPD chief also reminded the public to take care of their valuables and as much as possible refrain from wearing expensive jewelry when going to crowded shopping places, especially in Divisoria.
Earlier, National Capital Region Police Office director Oscar Albayalde warned the public against members of criminal groups that have been going around commercial centers, shopping malls, and other crowded areas in Metro Manila to prey on unsuspecting victims as Christmas season draws near.
Albayalde ordered all district commanders”•Central Police District, Northern Police District, Southern Police District, Eastern Police District and MPD “•to double their alert status in their respective areas of jurisdiction in anticipation of possible crimes to happen this holiday.
The NCRPO chief alerted the public about the various modus operandi of criminal groups such as Salisi Gang, Laglag-BaryaGang, Tutok-Kalawit Gang, Ipit-Taxi Gang, Budol-Budol, Condo Criminals, Riles Gang and the so-called “Sneaky Office Intruders” that prey on workplaces with little or no security.