THE Philippine National Police is all set for the country’s observance of the twin religious holidays All Saints’ Day and All Souls’ Day, police officer-in-charge Lt. Gen. Archie Gamboa yesterday said.
Gamboa on Tuesday made an inspection of bus terminals in Cubao, Quezon City and said he was satisfied with the security plans laid out by police commanders to ensure the safety and security of the riding public who are expected to flock to transport terminals for their provincial trips.
“We assure the public that the PNP is prepared. As a matter of fact ‘yung declaration ko na full alert yesterday (Monday) was the beginning for our preparation for the security measures para sa holidays until Monday
(We assure the public that the PNP is prepared. As a matter of fact, my declaration of a full alert last Monday was the beginning for our preparation for the security measures for the holidays until Monday),” Gamboa said.
Gamboa made a walk through inspection at bus terminals at the Araneta City in Cubao to check on the readiness of his men. He was accompanied by Metro Manila police director Debold Sinas, QCPD director Col. Ronnie Montejo and Cubao chief of police Lt. Col. Giovanni Callao.
PDEA chief Aaron Aquino said 45 public transport employees were found positive for illegal drugs use out of the 4,862 who underwent drug testing conducted by the agency under Project: “UNDASPOT” throughout the country.
Aquino said those who tested positive were 24 bus drivers, 14 bus conductors, three jeepney drivers, two van drivers, one tricycle driver, and one taxi driver.
The results are still undergoing confirmatory tests in PDEA forensic laboratories in the regions.
Aquino said licenses of the drivers have been confiscated and they have been barred from operating their vehicles while they undergo rehabilitation.
Aquino ordered the mandatory drug testing of drivers to promote a drug-free public transport system all over the country, and urged the transport sector, especially bus companies, to implement their own drug-free workplace program.
Under the Dangerous Drugs Board (DDB) Regulation No. 8 Series of 2003, all private companies employing 10 or more workers are mandated to implement their own drug-free workplace programs, educate employees on the ill-effects of dangerous drugs, and conduct random drug tests for all their officers and employees.
Last Monday, the PDEA, together with personnel of Land Transportation Office (LTO), Land Transportation Franchising and Regulatory Board (LTFRB), MMDA, and the PNP proceeded to the JAC Liner and PHILTRANCO bus terminal in Pasay City; and Quezon City’s Partas and Five Star bus terminal and conducted surprise mandatory drug tests on drivers, conductors and bus company personnel.
In an interview with GMA-7, Sinas said the PNP is closely coordinating with the Metropolitan Manila Development Authority (MMDA) and the PDEA to ensure public safety.
Sinas said the MMDA has conducted on-the- spot-breath analyzer tests on Metro Manila drivers to make sure that they are not under the influence of alcohol while plying their routes.
Sinas said a driver who fails the breath analyzer test will not be allowed to drive and his operator or company management will replace him with another driver to avoid the delay in the scheduled travel of passengers.
Meanwhile, the Bureau of Immigration assured it has enough personnel in their country’s three major airport terminals to service passengers who will travel in and out of the country during the Undas break.
BI port operations division chief Grifton Medina said there are more than 500 immigration officers currently deployed at the three terminals of the Ninoy Aquino International Airport.
“Our officers have been instructed not to be late or absent for work this peak season, they should not go on leave until after the Halloween break. All counters are manned to ensure that we provide our service efficiently,” Medina said.
Immigration personnel are assigned to the airport’s BI counters where all passengers line up to undergo immigration arrival and departure formalities after disembarking from or prior to boarding their flights.
Citing previous years’ data, Medina said they expect the number of passengers at NAIA to balloon to more than half a million, compared to the 493,000 who arrived and departed from the premiere port in the same period last year.
While in Cubao, Gamboa gave safety reminders to passengers and to those who will be left in their homes during the long holiday.
Gamboa said two bomb sniffing dogs from the PNP and another two from a private security agency were also tapped to sweep the baggage of passengers to check on explosives which could be discretely transported to the provinces.
He said 24/7 police assistance desks were also out up to respond to any eventuality since there is an expected influx of at least 7,000 passengers daily to the bus terminals.
On Monday, Gamboa placed the entire PNP on full alert to ensure the availability of all personnel and resources for law enforcement and public safety operations ahead of the traditional All Saints’ Day and All Souls’ Day holiday this coming weekend.
Under full alert status, all leaves from duty by PNP personnel are cancelled to guarantee a 100-percent presence of personnel to perform police functions.
Gamboa said over 35,000 police personnel from the police regional offices and national support units will perform security and public safety duties this weekend when an estimated 15 million Filipinos are expected to troop to public cemeteries and memorial parks around the country.
He said police regional offices and national support units will mobilize more than 99,000 force multipliers from local government units, civic action groups, civilian volunteer organizations and motoring clubs to man police assistance centers in providing road assistance and public safety services.
Security coverage would be laid out in all 83 airports and domestic air terminals, 333 seaports, 808 inland bus terminals, and 59 train stations in different parts of the country to assist travelers. – With Rod Lagusad and Ashzel Hachero