9 days Simbang Gabi in Metro Manila ‘crime-free’: NCRPO

MANILA No crime was reported within the nine days of "Simbang Gabi", the National Capital Region Police Office (NCRPO) said on Monday.

"The celebration of the nine-day Simbang Gabi in Metro Manila from Dec. 16-24 were generally peaceful with no significant untoward incidents reported," NCRPO Director Guillermo Eleazar said in a message sent to reporters.

Eleazar ordered the five district directors to tighten security around churches and residential areas to protect churchgoers and thwart burglars.

The five districts covered by the NCRPO are the Manila Police District (MPD), Quezon City Police District (QCPD), Northern Police District (NPD), Southern Police District (SPD), and Eastern Police District (EPD).

"The Team NCRPO celebrates this Christmas by intensifying police visibility to ensure there will be peace, order, safety and joy in our midst, every moment of the day, Eleazar said, adding that his order is in line with the Philippine National Police's (PNP) Ligtas Paskuhan 2018 program.

Eleazar also said he has already deployed 7,823 police officers in convergence areas of people such as transport hubs.

They will be posted strategically region-wide at places of convergence and vital installations. We will post 'police assistance hubs' in all major public markets, malls, churches, airports, LRT and MRT terminals, seaports, and transport terminals, he said.

The "Simbang Gabi" or dawn masses, a tradition deeply rooted in the religious culture of Catholic Filipinos, serves as a prelude to the festive and meaningful celebration of the birth of Jesus Christ.

Meanwhile, Eleazar noted there will be no holiday break for police personnel in Metro Manila and ordered the five district directors to tighten security and remain visible on Christmas and New Year's Day revelries.

Historically, police officers have holiday breaks but we cannot afford here in Metro Manila because if we let them go on breaks, half of them would be rendering 24-hour duty. We cannot do that here in Metro Manila, Eleazar said.

He also ordered the cancellation of the rest and recreation and other leave applications of policemen, and directed them to report for duty during the holidays.

He added that they would deploy more uniformed policemen in areas where indiscriminate firing of guns happened in the past Christmas and New Year celebrations.

We want to insist to the public that we are dead serious to maintain the peace and order and if people see this, they will feel safer," Eleazar noted.

Meanwhile, the NCRPO chief called on the public to remain vigilant and to promptly report suspicious persons or things for appropriate action.

He also encouraged anyone who witnessed a crime to report to the nearest police station or precinct. (PNA)

Source: Philippines News Agency

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