MANILA — Newly appointed Metro Manila police chief Major General Edgar Alan Okubo said Thursday he plans to beef up the police presence in the capital region as the Holy Week rush approaches.
According to Okubo, he aims to increase police visibility in Metro Manila from 22 percent to 42 percent.
"Akyat pa natin hanggang 50 to 70 percent of possible to include the deployment of admin personnel para meron 2 hours of police visibility duty sa umaga and another 2 hours police visibility duty sa hapon especially during rush hours," Okubo said.
The police chief made the announcement as he visited the Eastern Police District (EPD) headquarters Thursday afternoon to facilitate a command conference and hand out awards to 10 deserving EPD police officers.
Okubo also reiterated his plan to assign female police officers to man the front desks.
“They are more approachable, they are more sympathetic idagdag pa natin observation and comment ni Sen. [Grace] Poe they are more amiable and as woman they could listen to very long complaints ng mga citizens natin," he said.
He explained that the plan was not to undermine the capabilities of police women in the force.
"This is just one of the additional duties they will continue to perform their specialties but on certain hours of the day mag duty sila mag rotate sa lobby."
The National Capital Region Police Office leadership is also studying the possibility of bringing back the alternate uniform of police officers to protect them from heat stroke, he said.
"Meron tayo tinatawag na pagsusuot ng blue t-shirt o t-shirt na puwede equivalent ng uniform natin ipapa-review ko 'yan pag puwede po parang puwede naman gamitin ng ating patrollers during this summer," Okubo said.
PCG ON HEIGHTENED ALERT
The Philippine Coast Guard (PCG) will be on heightened alert starting Sunday amid the expected increase in passengers going to the provinces for the Holy Week. The alert will last until April 10 after Easter Sunday.
"Wala tayong security threat na namo-monitor. Wala pong report. Pero hindi tayo magpapakampante. Ang instruction... is siguraduhing ang paglalakbay ng mga kababayan natin ay free from harm, at secure na makakauwi ang mga kababayan natin sa kanilang mga probinsya ngayong Semana Santa,” said PCG Spokesperson Commodore Armando Balilo.
About 5,000 PCG personnel are expected to assist people in ports and beaches and will conduct inspections of ships that will sail this Holy Week.
The PCG will inspect the seaworthiness of the sailing ships, their preparedness in case of an emergency, and their capacity. Ships that are not seaworthy will not be allowed to sail.
Balilo urged the public not to use the "colorum" vessels.
"Ang panawagan natin sa mga kababayan natin, ‘wag n’yo po tangkilikin ang mga tinatawag nating colorum vessels, kasi unang-una, ito ay delikado, mas madalas nagiging sanhi ng aksidente sa karagatan, walang karaniwang life-saving equipment at kung mayroon man ay hindi maganda," Balilo said.
— with a report from Vivienne Gulla, ABS-CBN News