MANILA, Philippines – A spate of criminal activity has prompted the Philippine National Police (PNP) to further strengthen its campaign against motorcycle-riding criminals (MRCs).
PNP spokesman, Chief Superintendent Agrimero Cruz told ANC’s “Primetime” on Wednesday that Motorized Anti-Street Crime Operatives (MASCO) are deploying more motorcycles to keep up with MRCs.
Cruz said that policemen in motorcycles in Metro Manila have increased to thousands, compared to the 700 motorcycles when MASCO was launched.
“Para kapag may nangyari involved ang MRCs, madaling makahabol,” he said.
Cruz said patrol units of the PNP are also deployed during a specific “crime clock” or the time of day when criminals are most active.
“”Yung mga oras kung kailan nangyayari ang mga krimen sa mga lugar na malimit pangyarihan ng mga insidente, doon natin nilalagay ang mga patrol natin,” he said.
Police officials has admitted that it is difficult to prevent crimes by MRCs since law dictates that all bike riders wear helmets, which serve as "masks" of criminals.
Unidentified riding-in-tandem gunmen were also tagged as suspects in the ambush attempt on National Bureau of Investigation Deputy Chief Reynaldo Esmeralda on Tuesday.
According to Cruz, checkpoints have been put up in several areas across the country with the specific intention of flagging down motorcycle riders.
“Ang checkpoint ang pinakamabisa na nakita namin laban sa MRC,” he said.
Data from the PNP showed that Region 3 has had the most number of incidents involving MRCs with 566.
Region 4A and the National Capital Region are next on the list with 351 and 315, respectively.
Cruz said a sticker system is also being used in the CALABARZON to tag motorcycle riders.
He added that some 22 MRCs were "neutralized" in January.
New anti-kidnap group
PNP has also launched a new anti-kidnapping group to replace the Police Anti-Crime and Emergency Response Force (PACER).
Cruz said the anti-kidnapping group will be better funded and will focus solely on the problem of kidnappings.
He added that there was a significant decrease in kidnapping incidents in Luzon and Visayas for the past several years.
However, Cruz said cases of kidnapping in Mindanao have risen, which the PNP official linked to terrorist and separatist groups.