The rules have changed this time of year. After the province got its taste of terrorism and threats to security, the local police force has been extra vigilant with revelries intensify today in anticipation of Christmas Day tomorrow.
Stricter and more stringent security measures are being implemented by the police forces starting tonight until the celebrations ushering the New Year next week.
Police provincial director Senior Superintendent Felipe Natividad said the rules have changed and with the province already shaken with the Abu Sayyaf Group experience the security preparations are tighter than ever before and implemented earlier than usual.
At the same time, the police and other state security forces are extra vigilant for any eventuality about the celebration of the 49th anniversary of the New People’s Army.
Bohol remains to be insurgency-free. However, the security forces will not rest on their laurels, anticipating every scenario in keeping the peace within the province.
Police visibility has been heightened by the Bohol Police Provincial Office (BPPO) since last Saturday, the start of the nightly dawn masses, ushering the Christmas season.
Police implemented foot patrols and improved presence of the police personnel in key areas such as churches. Increased police presence may help in mitigating the risks of customers and churchgoers from getting victimized.
Police desks near malls and other public areas were set up to help shoppers and churchgoers in their security requirements.
Extra focus is on shoplifters, robbers and terrorists, said the police.
The police are also on the alert for possible bomb threats and the detection of explosive devices.
The leadership of the BPPO assured there is enough personnel to implement of security measures in the city and the province during the holiday season.
Natividad said he already gave instructions to all 48 police chiefs all over the province to deploy enough personnel to maintain the peace and order within their area of responsibility,especially during the holiday season.
As a precaution, Tagbilaran City Police Chief Supt. Patricio Degay advised the public to refrain from bringing expensive articles or wearing jewelry as these objects are atemptation to the eyes of the criminals.
Modest attire fit for the celebration without fancy or expensive jewelry or effects is recommended to prevent any instance of petty robbery or hold-up.
At the same time, Degay recommends the public be alert and have an active presence of mind against potential attempts by criminal elements to commit acrime.
The public is urged to report to the closest police officer any suspicious movement or persons inside the church for investigation and validation.
On the other hand, reports said the city government would deploy medical teams from the barangays to the churches and attend to the first aid requirements to those in need of assistance.
There could be instances where medical assistance may be needed by parishioners who are attending the dawn masses.
The Police Regional Office 7 (PRO7) in Central Visayas already ordered the chiefs of police in various localities to speak during the dawn masses as part of the police’s transformation program and to provide advice against criminality.
PRO7 Supt. Rayman Tolintin, the information officer, said the moves would give an impression to the public about the seriousness of the police in enforcing the law.
Tolintin said the chiefs of police should emphasize with the parishioners the spiritual aspect of keeping the peace and order.
The alert status on all stations in the region is on heightened alert at the start of the dawn masses, said Tolintin.
FIRE ALERT UP
The Bureau of Fire Protection (BFP) in Central Visayas heightened the alertness of the personnel as the threat of fires escalates during the holiday season.
BFP regional chief Sr. Supt. Samuel Tadeo said no personnel of the fire bureau allowed to take a leave or be absent during the holiday season. He also said those who were on leave were asked to return to their posts immediately.
The personnel will be monitoring incidents that needed their attention as the risks of fire escalate as Christmas and the New Year’s celebrations approach.
Reports said Tadeo indicated the BFP personnel are pre-positioned in their respective areas to respond to any emergency that may happen within their area of responsibility.
Tadeo reminds the people to be circumspect on the kind of lighting equipment they will be using. At the same time, avoid connections that may cause overloading and eventually cause fires. (Dave Albarado)