ALBAYALDE LAUDS POLICE UNITS FOR PEACEFUL NEW YEAR REVELRY
MANILA —Philippine National Police (PNP) chief, Director General Oscar Albayalde on Tuesday lauded all police units for maintaining their vigilance throughout the holiday season.
“The overall nationwide celebration of the holiday season for 2018 was generally safer and more peaceful compared to the previous year. This is despite of a much more serious security challenges faced by the PNP at the close of 2018,” Albayalde said in a statement.
He said the New Year’s Eve revelry alone was resoundingly safer compared to 2017 with only one incident of stray bullet reported which caused a slight injury to one person in Cagayan de Oro City.
Incidents of illegal discharge of firearms went down by 85 percent from seven in 2017 to only one for 2018 while injuries due to firecrackers also went down by 80 percent from 188 to 36 cases.
Albayalde commended the PNP regional directors and local police unit commanders for the effective implementation of Ligtas Paskuhan 2018, the national security and public safety plan laid out by the PNP for the holiday season.
“These positive developments could be attributed to our early preparations and consistent implementation of various measures under our Security and Safety Plan: Ligtas Paskuhan 2018; our aggressive implementation of the President’s Memorandum Orders 28 and 31; our closer coordination with relevant government agencies e.g., Bureau of Fire Protection, Department of the Interior and Local Government, Department of Health (DOH) and the different local government units nationwide; the rainy season which kept most citizens inside their homes and the active support and cooperation of the general public,” Albayalde said.
“Even as I extend my warmest congratulations to all members of our police organization, the PNP will never rest on its laurels. We will once again buckle down to work as we deal with other peace and security challenges facing our country and as we prepare to ensure free, honest, peaceful and credible plebiscite and mid-term elections this January and May of this year,” he added.
The PNP deployed 26,676 police personnel for general law enforcement and public safety duties in places of convergence, transportation hubs and terminal terminals for route security and target hardening measures during the Yuletide season.
The PNP arrested 97 persons for violation of laws and ordinances that prohibit the use and sale of dangerous firecrackers and banned pyrotechnic devices.
Meanwhile, Albayalde also lauded the DOH for dramatic decrease in firecrackers casualties during the New Year’s revelries.
He particularly cited the assessment of the DOH that noted a sharp 58 percent decline in the number of firecracker-related injuries and zero stray bullet casualties this year.
The DOH is the main agency that releases data on firecracker-related deaths and injuries. On the other hand, the PNP has the data on indiscriminate firing and operations on the illegal use, manufacture and selling of prohibited firecrackers and other pyrotechnic materials.
Albayalde vowed stiff administrative sanctions against seven police personnel who figured in 26 separate cases of illegal discharge of firearms during the holiday season.
The seven are among 23 persons arrested nationwide when police units responded to 26 separate reports of illegal discharge of firearms from Dec. 16, 2018 until 6 a.m. of Jan. 1, 2019.
“As I have promised, there will be no mercy for errant personnel who will fire their guns to celebrate the holiday,” Albayalde said.
Others arrested include two government officials, one AFP serviceman, 10 civilians, two security guards, and one law enforcement agent.
“The full might of the law will be applied to these trigger-happy gun owners upon observance of all requirements of due process," Albayalde said.
Meanwhile, Chief Supt. Benigno Durana, PNP spokesman, attributed the decrease of incidents in firecracker and stray-bullet injuries not only to the strategic deployment of policemen but also on the national government’s stern warning against the traditional New Year revelry using prohibited firecrackers and indiscriminate firing.
He also attributed the decrease to the successful information drive and awareness campaign on the adverse effects of the use of prohibited firecrackers. (PNA)
Photo by George Calvelo/ABS-CBN News