PNP in Luzon, Visayas placed under full alert

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    THE PNP placed all its units in Luzon and the Visayas under “full alert” yesterday, a day before the start of the traditional “Simbang Gabi” or midnight mass.

    The alert status

    PNP spokesman Brig. Gen. Bernard Banac said the police force declared the alert status, which will last until January 5, will ensure “maximum presence of police” in vital areas, including churches, said PNP spokesman Brig. Gen. Bernard Banac.

    “We have not received information about threat to security this season but we need to be on alert. We need maximum police presence so that people will be confident to go out to celebrate Christmas and New Year,” he said.

    Banac said Mindanao is not covered by the declaration because it is still under martial and thus on full alert.

    Mindanao was placed by President Duterte under martial rule on May 23, 2017 hours after the terror group Maute occupied several barangays in Marawi City. Martial law expires on December 31.

    Banac said police units in Mindanao will remain on full alert status until January 5.

    “This holiday season, from Christmas to New Year, there will be maximum presence of police (in key areas),” said Banac, adding about 70,000 police will be mobilized in airports, seaports, bus terminals, malls, commercial centers and churches.

    Banac said policemen will put up help desks outside churches. He said security will be handled by Church officials, with the PNP playing a support role.

    “We do not really anticipate major peace and order issues during the Yuletide Season but we are deploying more policemen in the field as a crime-prevention measure,” said PNP officer-in-charge Lt. Gen. Archie Gamboa.

    Police units were told to be on the lookout against lawless elements who may step up crimes like robbery, theft, burglary of unattended residences, mugging, swindling, and even street gang violence during the season.

    Banac said policemen are not allowed to go on leave while the PNP is on full alert.