There will be no lull time in securing the people during the Holy Week according to the Department of the Interior and Local Government (DILG) as it rallies local government units (LGUs), the Philippine National (PNP), Bureau of Fire Protection (BFP) and Bureau of Jail Management and Penology (BJMP) to implement stringent security measures during the observance of the Lenten Season.
DILG Secretary Eduardo M. Año says that security is a 24/7 job hence the PNP, BFP and BJMP has been placed on full alert status to ensure a peaceful and orderly Holy Week.
"Criminals do not rest, so the DILG and its attached agencies must not rest as well. The security of the people is a paramount priority especially during religious events such as the Lenten Season which is why the LGUs and law enforcement agencies must be on top of their game," Año says.
"Bawal muna magpahinga sapagkat ang Semana Santa ay panahon din ng mga mapagsamantala," he adds.
The DILG Chief says that LGUs must mobilize law and traffic enforcers, barangay tanods, Barangay Peace Action Keeping Teams, public safety officers and force multipliers to churches, religious destinations and even vacation spots. He also encourages close coordination with local security units such as the PNP and BFP.
He stressed that Local Chief Executives and local PNP units must ensure the safety and security of airports and seaports, transportation terminals, pilgrimages, churches, markets and other travel destinations and public places in their respective jurisdictions.
Collaborative effort for security
In ensuring the safety and security of the public, Año has directed the PNP to closely coordinate with the Philippine Drug Enforcement Agency (PDEA) to check all bus drivers for illegal drug use.
"Nasa kamay ng ating mga bus driver ang kaligtasan ng ating mga kababayan sa pagbiyahe nila pauwi sa kanilang mga probinsya para gunitain ang Semana Santa kaya bawal ang adik na driver sa kalsada," Año says.
He also commended the PNP for deploying 91,000 cops nationwide "for route security target hardening, and security operations in places of convergence and transportation hubs."
"This will guarantee that there are police officers from the PNP who will assist passengers in terminals, religious destinations and places of convergence. Their visibility will keep the criminals at bay," he says.
The BFP, on the other hand, will implement Oplan Semana Santa and Oplan Lakbay Alalay wherein they will preposition troops of firefighters in high human-density areas.
"Since people will be out of their homes, the Red Alert Status is raised to double-guard the area of responsibilities of the different fire stations. Some of the fire trucks will also be deployed for visibility and will be positioned in major routes taken by travelers," explains BFP OIC Spokesperson FCInsp Jude Delos Reyes.
He also says that with regard to fire safety, people are reminded to always check electrical outlets and make sure that appliances are unplugged if not in use; properly store combustible liquids and turn off LPGs to avoid leakage; and store matches and candles in dry and cool storage, among others.
The BJMP has also declared all jails in full alert status in anticipation of the influx of visitors in the Holy Week. The BJMP National Headquarters will also perform inspections to ensure readiness of jail units.
DILG Chief Año encourages everyone “to do their part” and make certain that they secure their homes before leaving for the province or a trip. "Gagawin po ng ating mga kapulisan, LGU at BFP ang kanilang tungkulin ngunit atin din pong responsibilidad na tiyakin na secured po ang ating mga tahanan bago tayo magtungo sa ating mga destinasyon," he says.