Securing the transport hubs and commercial centers will be the top priority of the Southern Police District this coming Halloween break.
SPD director Senior Supt. Eliseo Cruz said he included in the All Saints’ Day and All Souls’ Day security preparations the deployment of 870 police officers to intensify monitoring on all bus stations, airport commercial centers, and some segments of the Light Rail Transit and Metro Rail Transit.
“Topmost priority for the security deployment and monitoring are the terminals, MRT and LRT stations to include commercial establishments and other places of convergence within the southern metropolis,” he said.
Cruz also ordered his men to be on full alert at the cemetery entrances to prevent entries of persons carrying liquor, bladed weapons, illegal drugs and other prohibited items.
Meanwhile, the Maritime Industry Authority reminded shipping companies to conduct safety assessment on their vessels, in preparation for the surge of passengers this “Undas.”
In a statement, the Marina directed domestic shipping companies, operators, charterers, and ship management agents to uphold their roles and responsibilities in achieving and maintaining high standards of safety; and establishing safeguards against identified risks on sea transport.
The agency also ordered the continuous improvement of safety management skills of personnel ashore and aboard ships, including preparations for emergencies.
The stakeholders are specifically tasked to report any untoward maritime incident or accident to the Marina’s Enforcement Service, and to provide via written document the full details within 24 hours after its occurrence. Failure to comply will result to the imposition of fines and penalties, it said.
To promote maritime safety, Marina regional offices joined fellow transportation agencies including the Land Transportation Office, Land Transportation Franchising and Regulatory Board, and Civil Aviation Authority of the Philippines in the efforts “to ensure a hassle-free observation of the upcoming holiday.”
Marina will also assist the Philippine Coast Guard in manning helpdesks in major Philippine port areas from Oct. 29 to Nov. 5 to cater to the inquiries and needs of passengers.
The Philippine Drug Enforcement Agency will also be visible at major transport terminals to ensure no illegal drugs will be smuggled amidst Undas 2018.
The public is enjoined to cooperate with the authorities by adhering to the safety and security regulations on port and other transport areas, and by reporting any suspicious person or incident observed amid the observation of Undas 2018 through Marina’s hotline at 0995-400-7336.
Meanwhile, environmentalist group Ecowaste Coalition on Saturday warned the public against unsafe Halloween toys being sold by vendors in Divisoria, Manila.
“There is no assurance that all toys being sold in the market are safe for our children to play with. Some of these toys might be putting vulnerable kids in harm’s way,” said Thony Dizon, Ecowaste chemical safety campaigner.
Dizon warned that some toys may pose chemical, choking, fire, and laceration hazards, and even blunt force trauma.
“Parents should only pick safe notified or registered toys for their children and supervise them as they play to prevent any untoward incident,” he suggested.
As for the police, personnel complements from the SPD’s Stations, consisting of 720 strong men and women will be having their skeletal deployment as early as Oct. 30 to provide police assistance.
“Considering that there are some who prefer to pay respect and/or visit the graves of their departed relatives and loved ones at an earlier date to evade congested cemeteries,” said Cruz.
The SPD covers the cities of Pasay, Makati, Paranaque, Las Piñas, Muntinlupa and Taguig, and the municipality of Pateros.
The police personnel deployment will be complemented with 1,605 force multipliers, Bantay Bayan, Barangay Tanods and Barangay Peacekeeping Action Teams (BPATs), security guards and NGOs.
Cruz also reminds the people who are leaving for the provinces to lock their houses properly “and as much as possible checked every doors and windows, unplug all appliances, check gasoline stoves, leaking/open faucets and see to it that no candles are lighted to prevent the occurrences of fire incidents and or explosions.”
For this year’s Halloween celebration, Ecowaste bought 35 assorted Halloween toys, including scary headbands and masks, imitation weapons, creepy hammers, and “blood stained” accessories like “blood saw in head,” “terrorist necklace” and “horror blood and fangs.”
Based on the requirements set by the Food and Drug Administration, notified or registered toys should bear the following labeling information: license to operate number, age grade, cautionary statements/ warnings, instructional literature, item/ model/ stock keeping unit number, and manufacturer’s marking, including the complete name and address of the manufacturer or distributor.
None of the 35 samples provided complete labeling information as required by the FDA, the Ecowaste stated.
“Compliance to the labeling requirements is essential as this will equip consumers with vital information on which to make their decision to buy a product or not. In fact, toy manufacturers should also disclose the chemicals present on a product and their effects, particularly to children’s health,” said Dizon.
Of the 35 samples, only eight have the required License to Operate number on their labels. In most cases, the information on LTO stickers was hardly readable.
“A good magnifying glass is needed to enable consumer to read the extremely fine print,” Dizon added.
While 20 samples gave various hazard warnings, the warning symbols and statements were ineffective because they were too small to get noticed, the group observed.
Out of the 35 samples, the group selected potentially hazardous toys and described the hazards such toys posed, especially to young children. For example:
• A plastic imitation weapon measuring 35 inches in length with a massive blade like part that may cause blunt force trauma.
• Toy axes and swords with sharp edges that can cause abrasions and cuts.
• Seemingly harmless devil headbands and light up toys containing button batteries that a small child may swallow, causing damage to the gastrointestinal tract.
• Costume masks adorned with fake hair that can easily catch fire, but provide no fire hazard warning.
• Some vampire inspired accessories with matching “cosmetic blood” the content of which is a mystery due to zero labeling information.
• Accessories and toys with varying levels of lead content, including a skull headband with 1,265 parts per million (ppm) of lead, way above the allowable 90 ppm regulatory limit.
The group further advised consumers to:
• Carefully read the product label and refrain from buying unlabeled and unregistered toys.
• Choose toys that are suited to a child’s age, ability and behavior.
• Watch out for toys that may cause injury or pose burn, chemical, choking, laceration, strangulation and other safety hazards.
• Shun toys that have small parts such as button batteries and magnets that can be pulled off and get swallowed by a child.
• Steer clear of polyvinyl chloride (PVC) plastic toys that may contain banned phthalates and other hazardous substances such as cadmium and lead.
• Refrain from picking toys that have a strong chemical or perfumed smell.
• Avoid painted toys unless labeled as certified lead safe.
• Avoid face paints unless guaranteed free of toxic metals and other cosmetic contaminants.