Friday, December 14, 2012

Christmas Holiday in Pasay City, Philippines

The city governments of Pasay and Taguig have stepped up security measures in preparation for possible spike in criminal activities, accidents or disturbances during the Christmas season.

In Pasay, Mayor Antonino "Tony" Calixto ordered new Pasay City Police Chief Sr. Supt. Rodolfo Llorca to increase police visibility in the City's strategic areas to prevent criminals from taking advantage of the approaching Christmas season.

Calixto issued the order to Llorca to ensure that there will be more foot patrols roving in the areas of Pasay–Rotonda, Libertad-Taft, Ninoy Aquino International Airport, Mall of Asia, Resorts World Manila, hotels like Marriot Hotel Mania, Hotel Sofitel, Heritage Hotel, Midas Hotel among others where the public, including local and foreign tourists tend to congregate.

"We should secure our balikbayans and tourists arriving at Terminal 1 and 3. There should be round-the clock patrol team in the vicinity of the airports so that the criminals will not prey on them," Calixto said as he also reminded business establishment owners to comply with the Ordinance No. 4532, s. 2011, requiring them to install closed- circuit television (CCTV) cameras.

The mayor reminded Pasay business owners that CCTV cameras are proven measures to deter crimes so all establishments must comply otherwise their business permits may be withheld.

"Policemen should be vigilant during this times especially that we are nearing the holiday season for this is the time that criminals are preying on the public. Let us continue to be vigilant because in these uncertain times, many people are concerned about the threat of rising crime in their communities… With our law enforcement agencies being stretched to their limits, it has never been more important for citizens to work together to prevent crime," Calixto said.

The local chief executive said he had also directed Llorca to coordinate closely with security chiefs of business establishments in the city, including shopping malls as well as other places where people tend to congregate at this time of the year to ensure a crime-free Holiday season.

Aside from being a shopping mecca (Pasay hosts the Mall of Asia, one of the largest shopping malls in the country), Pasay is also a major transportation hub with the presence of bus terminals and the Light Rail Transit and the Metro Rail Transit stations.

To ensure the security of these transportation hubs, the city government has required the posting of bomb sniffing dogs in all bus terminals and stations within its jurisdiction for the protection and security of all commuters.

Calixto stressed that historically, all types of crimes usually registered an upsurge during the Christmas season.

In Taguig City, upon instruction of Mayor Lani Cayetano, Taguig Police chief, Sr. Supt. Tomas Apolinario Jr., issued instructions to his men to secure crowded areas such as shopping malls, commercial areas, markets, churches, amusement areas, as well as bus and jeepney terminals.

"We will enhance police visibility and install police assistance centers in malls and bus terminals to immediately respond to any call for assistance. We will also do 'target hardening' so that criminals cannot perpetrate their deeds," he added.

Apolinario is confident that the local police can effectively carry out security measures with the continued support of the local government led by Mayor Cayetano.

He noted that based on past incidents, crowded areas are the usual prowling grounds of target of unscrupulous individuals preying on shoppers out to spend their Christmas bonus on gifts and other personal items.

Aside from this, the Taguig police joined hands with the barangay tanod and homeowners' associations to conduct patrols for the protection of the community from robbers, like the notorious "Akyat Bahay" gang.

"Apart from crime-busting, we are also monitoring the flow of traffic, street children, and even Christmas parties where there are alcohol drinks. We will also monitor firecracker stalls, as well as citizens who may fire guns during the New Year celebrations," said Apolinario.