4,300 cops to secure Caraga Region’s All Saints’ and All Souls’ Day commemoration

October 31, 2017 - 8:39 PM
Police personnel check vehicles before they enter Butuan City near the border of Buenavista town, Agusan del Norte.PHOTO BY ERWIN MASCARINAS, INTERAKSYON

BUTUAN CITY, Philippines – Around 4,300 police personnel will be deployed to help secure cemeteries and travel hubs throughout the five provinces of Caraga Region during the November 1 and 2, All Saints’ Day and All Souls’ Day commemorations.

“The order for Oplan Ligtas Undas 2017 has been given out last week by our regional director. A grand total of around 4,300 police personnel will be deployed to the provinces of Agusan del Norte, Agusan del Sur, Surigao del Norte, Surigao del Sur and Dinagat Island’s to provide security and assistance to the influx of people during the All Saints’ Day and All Souls’ Day celebration,” said Police Superintendent Martin Gamba, officer-in-charge, Regional Operations and Plans Division of the Police Regional Office 13 (PRO13).

“The deployment for Undas this year is bigger compared to 2016. Last year we only had around 3,426 police personnel in the ground. This year, we expect the biggest number of people will be in cemeteries closest to town centers or the key cities in the region and especially Butuan City, which is the region’s capital,” said Gamba.

Gamba added that, “Our police operation baseline data is based on our historical records from the previous years, from that we estimated, around 1,961 key places of convergence had been identified which are not only cemeteries but bus terminals and ports,” said Gamba.

Chief Superintendent Rolando Felix, regional director of PRO13, ordered the police force to provide maximum security and public safety services.

“I’ve directed all unit commanders to enhance police presence through conduct of foot and mobile patrols, deploy road safety marshals, establish police assistance hubs, conduct checkpoints and intensify intelligence/counterintelligence to preempt any crimes or illegal activities and maintain peace and order,” said Felix.

“On November 1 and 2, 2017, an additional 265 personnel from the PRO 13 headquarters and National Support Units whose offices are inside the PRO13 compound will also be deployed to the cemeteries in Butuan City and adjacent municipalities to ensure the safety and security of our people in addition to the territorial police units,” said Felix.

A member of the police Public Safety Company stands guard at a checkpoint before entering Butuan City. PHOTO BY ERWIN MASCARINAS, INTERAKSYON

Police Chief Inspector Renel E. Serrano, officer-in-charge of the public information office of PRO13, said part of the tight security preparation has been the series of attacks by the New People’s Army (NPA).

“This year more than one thousand police personnel have been added to be deployed and part of this is because a portion of the Public Safety police forces are on full alert against the threat of NPA attacks and harassments. We’ve seen the series of violent atrocities committed by the NPA over the past two weeks, and so we want to maximize our presence as these armed groups might take advantage of the situation and sabotage the event,” said Serrano.

Serrano said several members of the Regional Public Safety Battalion are still conducting internal security operations in the mountains, parallel to Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) personnel conducting military operations on the ground.