ZAMBOANGA CITY (PNA) – Security measures have been strengthened in tourist destinations across the country to ensure the safety of vacationers this summer, a senior Philippine National Police (PNP) official said Tuesday.
Senior Supt. Eugene Paguirigan, PNP Directorate for Operations Public Safety Division chief, said that police officers deployed in key tourist destinations were also properly oriented on how to deal with tourists.
“Our main purpose here is to ensure that the tourists will feel safe and secure, especially this summer,” Paguirigan told the Philippines News Agency in an interview.
“We have 21 tourist police units in all key areas in the country,” Paguirigan said, adding they also created several Tourist Police Assistance Desks.
Paguirigan was in this city as a resource person in the three-day tourism awareness seminar for the Tourist-Oriented Police for Community Order and Protection (TOP-COP).
The PNP has reactivated “Oplan SumVac” (summer vacation) since the start of the month.
Policemen were ordered to be visible and alert to deter criminals from victimizing local visitors and foreign guests.
Part of the process is to ensure that policemen have the proper understanding on how to handle visitors.
“This is the main reason why the Department of Tourism (DOT) and the PNP have partnered to ensure that policemen will have substantial knowledge of tourism behavior and pattern,” said Ricardo San Juan, former DOT regional director and now a consultant of the agency.
Among the topics for discussions in the TOP-COP seminar are Philippine Tourism Overview, Values Formation and Effective Customer Service, Philippine History, Culture and Traditions, Child-wise Tourism and Child Protection Laws, and Police as First Responders.
Paguirigan said that since 2011, there are about 5,000 policemen who underwent the TOP-COP training.
“The policemen who underwent the training are given priority in the deployment during tourism events,” he said.
The efforts, he said, is also in preparation for the Philippines’ hosting of the 30th Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) Summit on April 26 to 29.