By Christopher Lloyd Caliwan
MANILA – Philippine National Police (PNP) chief Gen. Rodolfo Azurin Jr. ordered all unit commanders to coordinate with school officials in their areas to tackle public safety issues and implement necessary anti-crime programs.
This came after the Department of Education (DepEd) sought the PNP’s assistance in securing schools in the wake of various incidents that threatened the safety of learners and disrupted classes.
“Inatasan po ng ating Chief PNP Gen. Rodolfo Azurin Jr. yung ating mga field commanders to directly coordinate doon sa mga eskuwelahan doon sa kani-kanilang lugar para alamin kung ano yung mga security concerns nila at kung paano makakatulong ang PNP para mas lalo paigtingin sa loob at labas ng mga eskuwelahan (The Chief PNP Gen. Rodolfo Azurin Jr. instructed our field commanders to directly coordinate with the schools there in their respective areas to find out what their security concerns are and how the PNP can help to further intensify inside and outside the schools premises),” PNP spokesperson Col. Jean Fajardo said in a radio interview on Tuesday.
Last week, a 12-year-old boy died after allegedly playing with the gun of his father, who is a police officer, inside a school in San Jose del Monte City, Bulacan while some schools were shocked by bomb threats that turned out to be a hoax.
Fajardo said the first step is for the police to conduct security assessments in schools.
“As to the number of policemen that would be deployed, the time that they would be deployed would be a task for local commanders,” said Fajardo.
She said the additional police deployment would reinforce the existing police assistance desks that are already set up in areas near the schools in some parts of the country, particularly the urban areas.
Police Assistance Desks (PADs) near the entrances of school campuses nationwide in coordination with the Department of Education (DepEd) officials have also been established to ensure the safety and security of the children, employees, visitors and tourists visiting schools through Tourist Police Units.
Based on the existing security measures in the vicinity of schools, the police assistance desks are manned by at least two policemen. They are reinforced by beat patrol policemen who are tasked to conduct regular patrols at the vicinity of schools.
Aside from students and teachers, the current security setup also covers assistance to the parents, especially of the preschool and elementary pupils who are usually being fetched and accompanied by their parents.
For his part, PNP public information office chief Col. Redrico Maranan said the order was cascaded down to the chiefs of police.
“Our priority is schools with a big student population like here in Metro Manila and other urban areas. The deployment of policemen in schools that need security will be as soon as possible. Our Chief PNP leaves to the discretion of the commanders on the specifics of the security coverage in coordination with the local DepEd and school officials,” he added. (PNA)