The National Capital Region Police Office on Saturday announced it will send more patrols on the streets of Metro Manila amid the reported rise of cases of kidnapping and abuses against women and children.
This comes days after the Philippine National Police denied the occurrence of serial abductions after some witnesses said they were being tailed by “white vans.”
In an interview with DZMM Teleradyo, NCRPO Chief Gen. Jonnel Estomo said the regional police are set to patrol malls, private subdivisions, and churches to ascertain the safety of Metro Manila residents.
“As of today, I have deployed (about) 10,000 of the regional police force to watch over our citizens here in Metro Manila. We have what we call the BEEP Patrol, Mobile Patrol, and of course motorcycle visibility,” he said.
“With the traffic congestion here in Metro Manila, we need motorcycles to go around all the subdivisions with the risk of criminals entering them,” Estomo added, noting the PNP has expected crimes, especially kidnappings, to return after the return of face-to-face classes in all schools.
The NCRPO chief also urged netizens to be wary of posting and sharing fake news on their respective social media accounts.
Estomo was reacting to the reported kidnapping of a 13-year-old girl in Caloocan, which circulated on social media but turned out to be a “fake attempted kidnapping.”
“Immediately after I learned about the alleged incident of kidnapping in Caloocan, I alerted all units, especially the local police, in partnership with the concerned local government unit and the residents in the particular community,” he said in a statement.
Estomo noted that based on their investigation, the minor victim initially alleged that she overheard the plan of three men alighting from a white van that they would tie her up and force her inside the vehicle.
The girl added that if not for the help of a tricycle driver and an unidentified bystander, she would have been taken away. She said the tricycle driver helped retrieve her belongings and return home.
Estomo noted he established the ‘S.A.F.E. NCRPO’ program upon assuming office. The program, which is modeled after the PNP’s own MKK=K program, reimagines the visions of the regional police through Seeing, Appreciating, and Feeling the police through their “Extraordinary” service and actions towards the citizens that they serve.
“While the citizens sleep, the police are awake,” the general said, assuring a safer Metro Manila as he had previously accomplished in his positions as Region V Police Chief and Anti-kidnapping director.
Despite the rising cases, the PNP has stated that there is no evident pattern among the cases which could possibly connect them.
“What is spreading on social media—claims of white vans connected to the abductions—we have not yet recorded any such incident,” PNP spokesperson, Col. Jean Fajardo told reporters in an interview.