The Philippine National Police (PNP) is on full alert effective Monday to secure the country’s commemoration of All Saints’ and All Souls’ days.
“Effective today, I am placing the entire Philippine National Police on full alert to ensure the availability of all personnel and resources for law enforcement and public safety operations ahead of the traditional All Saints’ Day and All Souls’ Day holiday this coming weekend,” PNP officer-in-charge Lt. Gen. Archie Gamboa told reporters in a press briefing held at Camp Crame.
Under full alert status, all leaves from duty by PNP personnel are cancelled to guarantee a 100-percent presence of personnel to perform police functions.
Meanwhile, in England, visitors descended on the Yorkshire seaside town of Whitby today for the October edition of the Goth Festival, which sees goths and steampunks gather to enjoy live music, quirky fashion and beer tasting.
The goths are hugely popular with tourists who come to admire the impressive costumes on display when festival-goers stroll along the beach and walk through the grounds of the Whitby Abbey ruins.
During the three-day festival there are club nights, a modeling contest and the Bizarre Bazaar – a market featuring more than 100 stalls.
Whitby was traditionally seen as welcoming to goths because of its links to Bram Stoker’s novel Dracula, which was inspired by the abbey there.
Gamboa said over 35,000 police personnel from the police regional offices and national support units will perform security and public safety duties this weekend when an estimated 15 million Filipinos are expected to troop to public cemeteries and memorial parks around the country.
He said the police regional offices and national support units would mobilize more than 99,000 force multipliers from local government units, civic action groups, civilian volunteer organizations and motoring clubs to man police assistance centers in providing road assistance and public safety services.
Security coverage would be laid out in all 83 airports and domestic air terminals, 333 seaports, 808 inland bus terminals, and 59 train stations in different parts of the country to assist travelers.
“The key element in this security operation is police visibility, considering both its crime deterrent and reassuring effect on the public. This is the general guidance to all Police Regional Offices and National Support Units,” he said.
“My outstanding order to all units and personnel is to remain visible at all times along travel routes, transport terminals, public cemeteries and other public places to establish police presence in these areas,” he added.
Gamboa said that they will have walk-through inspections in major land, sea and air transportation terminals to assess the readiness of PNP units.
The Bureau of Immigration (BI) officers at the Ninoy Aquino International Airport (NAIA) and other ports nationwide were also placed on heightened alert due to the expected influx of passengers for the All Saints weekend.
BI Commissioner Jaime Morente issued the directive to prevent human trafficking syndicates from taking advantage of the holiday break to spirit their victims out of the country.
Morente also cited intelligence reports that international human smuggling syndicates might use the occasion to again use Manila as a transit point for illegal aliens who want to enter countries where they want to settle and work illicitly.
In other developments:
* The Philippine Drug Enforcement Agency (PDEA) on Monday conducted simultaneous surprise mandatory drug tests for drivers at bus terminals in the cities of Pasay and Quezon as part of efforts to secure passengers traveling to the provinces for the observance of All Saints’ Day and All Souls’ Day.
* Government agents started conducting inspection in various transport terminals in Metro Manila to check the roadworthiness of vehicles, especially provincial buses, to ensure public safety in time for the holiday break this weekend.
* Manila Mayor Francisco Domagoso on Monday said no vendors would be allowed inside the Manila North Cemetery and Manila South Cemetery during the “Undas” as a sign of respect to the dead. Millions of Filipinos are expected to troop to cemeteries on Nov. 1 and 2, in observance of All Saints Day and All Souls Day, respectively. The “no vendor” policy will keep the two big cemeteries in Manila clean and give the public more space and time to pray, the mayor said.