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Holy Week exodus on; PNP raises alert level

The Philippine National Police on Monday said it had placed Luzon and the Visayas on heightened alert while Mindanao remained on full alert in line with security preparations for the Holy Week, PNP spokesman Chief Supt. Generoso Cerbo Jr. said the directive officially took effect March 24. “As per guidance of the Chief PNP, Director General Alan Purisima, the alert level is raised to heightened alert effective 5 p.m. on March 24 in Luzon and Visayas. PNP units in Mindanao plus the Special Action Force will remain at full alert,” Cerbo said. Some of the vital points that will be under tight watch by the police are bus terminals, pierrs, airports and local tourist destinations. Cerbo said policemen would be deployed in the major and secondary roads going to major tourists destinations. He said that the PNP, in close coordination with the Armed Forces would likewise secure vital government and private installations from potential harassment by threat groups. the Highway Patrol Group “PNP personnel who are deployed at convergence points and Police Assistance Desks are assigned to assist the general public. However, the mandatory police operations against criminal elements and dissident terrorists should not be overlooked” he said. Purisima also instructed all regional directors and Police Units to coordinate with Local Government Units, non-government organizations and other government entities and volunteer groups in establishing public assistance desks and the deployment of Road Safety Marshalls. National Capital Region Police Director Leonardo Espina meanwhile, said his office would 5,000 policemen to secure Metro Manila. Espina said they  had activated the “force multipliers” composed of barangay officials and tanods (village officials and watchmen), security guards and various security and safety volunteers to help the police patrol crime-prone areas,  especially by members of “akyat-bahay” gangs. Armed Forces Chief of Staff Gen. Emmanuel Bautista likewise directed the Joint Force Force-National Capital Region to place on standby 500 troops to provide support to the PNP in case of emergency. Military spokesman Col. Arnulfo Marcelo Burgos Jr. said the Armed Forces General Headquarters had directed area, division and brigade commanders to assess the security situation in their respective areas of responsibility and implement the appropriate security measure or level of alert. Burgos said the standby troops are stationed inside Camp Aguinaldo in Quezon City. Meanwhile, the Quezon City Police District said it deployed  policemen in plain clothes to serve as bus marshals who will be stationed in terminals to guard against robbery-holdup gangs. QCPD director Senior Supt. Richard Albano said also deployed K-9 units in major bus terminals especially at the Araneta Center in Cubao for the security and safety of commuters. With Francisco Tuyay
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