The Department of the Interior and Local Government (DILG) has ordered all local government units (LGUs), the Philippine National Police (PNP), Bureau of Fire Protection (BFP) and the Bureau of Jail Management and Penology (BJMP) to be on heightened alert status to ensure peace and order during the Holy Week.
In a news statement, Interior Secretary Eduardo M. Año said that security is a 24/7 job hence the PNP, BFP, and BJMP have been placed on full alert status. As such, they are ordered to implement stringent security measures during the observance of the Lenten season.
“Criminals do not rest, so the DILG and its attached agencies must not rest as well. The security of the people is [of] paramount priority, especially during religious events such as the Lenten season which is why the LGUs and law- enforcement agencies must be on top of their game,” Año said.
The DILG chief added that LGUs must mobilize local law and traffic enforcers, barangay tanods, Barangay Peace Action Keeping Teams, public safety officers and force multipliers to churches, religious destinations, and even vacation spots.
He also encouraged close coordination with local security units such as the PNP and BFP.
Local chief executives and local PNP units must ensure the safety and security of airports and seaports, transportation terminals, pilgrimages, churches, markets and other travel destinations and public places in their respective jurisdictions, the DILG chief said.
In ensuring the safety and security of the public, Año has directed the PNP to closely coordinate with the Philippine Drug Enforcement Agency (PDEA) to check all bus drivers for illegal drug use.
The DILG chief, meanwhile, commended the PNP for deploying 91,000 cops nationwide “for route security target hardening, and security operations in places of convergence and transportation hubs.”
“This will guarantee that there are police officers from the PNP who will assist passengers in terminals, religious destinations and places of convergence. Their visibility will keep the criminals at bay,” he said.
The BFP, on the other hand, will implement Oplan Semana Santa and Oplan Lakbay Alalay for the prepositioning of firefighters in high human-density areas.
“Since people will be out of their homes, the Red Alert Status is raised to double-guard the area of responsibilities of the different fire stations. Some of the fire trucks will also be deployed for visibility and will be positioned in major routes taken by travelers,” according to BFP Spokesman FC Insp. Jude de los Reyes.
With regard to fire safety, he said, people are reminded to always check electrical outlets and make sure that appliances are unplugged if not in use; properly store combustible liquids and turn off LPGs to avoid leakage; and store matches and candles in dry and cool storage, among others.
The BJMP has also declared all jails in full alert status in anticipation of the influx of visitors in the Holy Week. The BJMP National Headquarters will also perform inspections to ensure readiness of jail units.