By Christopher Lloyd Caliwan

SECURING TRAVEL SEASON. Police officers attend an orientation on tourism safety at the police regional office in Palo, Leyte on July 18, 2022. The PNP on Wednesday (March 13, 2024) said some 34,000 police officers would be deployed to secure travelers for the Holy Week and the summer vacation season. (Photo courtesy of PNP) 

MANILA – The Philippine National Police (PNP) will deploy some 34,000 police officers to secure travelers for the summer vacation season.

PNP spokesperson Col. Jean Fajardo said this is part of the police force’s Oplan Ligtas Sumvac (summer vacation) which is set to be activated ahead of the Holy Week exodus.

Under Oplan Ligtas Sumvac, all regional and provincial police offices must activate their contingency plans and maximize the deployment of personnel through tourist police units in coordination with local government units, local tourism councils and the Department of Tourism. 

“Kasama sa babantayan natin ay yung ating mga major transportation terminals, kasama na diyan ang mga airport, pantalan, expressways at yung mga major transport points, yung mga convergence areas at siyempre kasama din sa babantayan natin since summer vacation pumapasok diyan yung Holy Week, so doon sa mga simbahan natin particularly kapag nag-start yung Visita Iglesia ay maglalagay din tayo diyan kasama na diyan yung paglalagay natin ng PADs (police assistance desks) sa mga terminal at mga simbahan at siyempre doon sa mga tourist spots (We would keep a tight watch over major transportation terminals, including airports, seaports, expressways and major transport points, as well as convergence areas and of course, since Holy Week is within the summer vacation period, we are also securing churches, particularly when Visita Iglesia starts, we would put up PADs in terminals, churches as well as tourist spots),” Fajardo told reporters in Camp Crame Tuesday afternoon.

Fajardo said included in their personnel deployment are 7,000 trained tourist police officers who would be tasked to secure major tourist hubs.

She said Police Regional Offices (PROs) have also been given the discretion to raise their alert level depending on the prevailing situation in their respective areas of responsibility.

“Kung sa tingin nila kung kakailanganin ang alert level sa kanilang lugar (If they see the need to raise the alert level in their areas), then they have the authority to do so but on the whole PNP as of today ay wala pa pong (we have no) official documentation or announcement na magtataas tayo ng (that we would be raising our) alert status,” she added. 

The PNP information chief also urged the public to cooperate with authorities and follow safety protocols.

These include keeping a close watch on personal belongings while traveling, avoiding posting real-time or “at the moment” travel photos on social media, and securing homes before leaving. 

Fajardo likewise reminded travelers to deal only with legitimate travel agents or companies and be wary of offers that seem too good to be true to avoid being scammed.

Meanwhile, the police force reported a continued decline in the number of index crimes in the country.

The PNP’s latest data showed a total of 5,939 index crime incidents from Jan. 1 to March 9 this year –a 21.68 percent drop from 7,583 incidents logged in the same period last year.

Index crimes are serious crimes such as murder, homicide, physical injury, robbery, rape, theft and carjacking, while non-index crimes are violations of local ordinances and laws and vehicular accidents. (PNA)