The Philippine National Police has placed all its units in Luzon and the Visayas on high alert in time for the start of “Simbang Gabi” tomorrow—a nine-day novena ending on Dec. 24—aimed at addressing safety and security concerns during the Yuletide.
PNP Officer-in-Charge Lt. Gen. Archie Francisco Gamboa issued PNP Command Memorandum Circular “Paskuhan” 2019 where 69,335 PNP personnel, reinforced by 157,264 Force Multipliers, will be mobilized for law enforcement and public safety operations to implement the PNP Enhanced Managing Police Operations (E-MPO) Strategy.
The PNP troop deployment plan for Paskuhan 2019 will cover community firecrackers and display zones, assistance hubs, places of worship, commercial centers, road safety points, seaports, train stations, and airports.
Other units will be deployed for anti-criminality operations, anti-motorcycle-riding suspects, and reactionary standby support force.
Gamboa ordered stepped-up police visibility and preventive patrol operations to ensure the safety and security of church-goers attending the traditional Simbang-Gabi.
He instructed all Police Regional Directors to strengthen night shift personnel and redirect mobile and foot patrol operations to maximize police visibility around churches where parishioners gather to attend the traditional dawn masses or Misa de Gallo.
“We do not really anticipate major peace and order issues during the Yuletide, but we are deploying more policemen in the field as a crime prevention measure,” Gamboa said.
Local police units were instructed to coordinate closely with barangay authorities to muster support from village watchmen, citizen volunteers and other force multipliers to be on the lookout for violators of the ban on dangerous and illegal firecrackers.
They were also reminded to be on the lookout for criminals engaged in common street crime such as robbery, theft, burglary of unattended residences, mugging, swindling and street gang violence.
Gamboa instructed field unit commanders to deploy mobile patrol units with blinkers on to visibly establish police presence which has been proven as an effective deterrent to crime.
Gamboa has designated area supervisors among Directors for Integrated Police Operations (DIPO) for an unannounced inspection of PNP Units in their areas to determine compliance of field units to the instructions.
Manila Archbishop Luis Antonio Cardinal Tagle said Simbang Gabi for Filipino Catholics was “above all an expression of their filial devotion to Mary, the Mother of God.”
He said: “For nine consecutive days, they join and accompany her, so to speak, as she awaits the birth of her Son. For this reason, the Masses on these days are celebrated as solemn votive masses [Masses for a special intention] in her honor.” With Vito Barcelo
READ: Simbang Gabi in Manila