Christmas celebration generally peaceful: PNP Chief

MANILA -- Philippine National Police (PNP) Chief Director General Oscar Albayalde said Tuesday the celebration of Christmas in the country was generally peaceful.

This year's Christmas celebration, during the period from December 16 to Dec. 25, 2018 was generally safe and peaceful compared to the same period last year, Albayalde said in a message sent to reporters.

He noted that injuries due to firecrackers are so far 75 percent lower than in 2017, while the indiscriminate firing and illegal discharge of firearms has so far marked a 70 percent reduction.

However, the seizure of illegal firecrackers and pyrotechnics rose by 1,000 percent, he added.

Albayalde also said that crime incidents this year in Metro Manila, where crimes usually increase during the holiday season, has significantly gone down compared to last year due to the intensified anti-criminality and public safety campaign launched by the PNP through its Ligtas Paskuhan 2018 and the support and cooperation of Filipinos throughout the country.

He said the National Capital Region Police Office has been on full alert to secure the metropolis for the Yuletide season.

Full alert is the highest level of readiness in all police offices and units in Metro Manila.

The Oplan Ligtas Kapaskuhan 2018 was designed to minimize crimes during the holiday season as the PNP chief reminded anew all police commanders about the operational guidelines and procedures to be undertaken in maintaining order, law enforcement, and in providing public safety services during the traditional nine-day Simbang Gabi.

Albayalde said he expected field commanders to make inspection rounds in churches around the metropolis and suburbs to assess the implementation of beat patrol and mobile patrol operations in areas where parishioners gather to attend the dawn Masses.

The PNP chief instructed all police regional directors to redirect police patrol operations to maximize police visibility around churches.

Albayalde specifically instructed field unit commanders to deploy mobile patrol units with blinkers turned on to visibly establish police presence but not necessarily create undue alarm to the public.

Local police units were also reminded to be on the lookout for criminal elements engaged in common street crimes, such as mugging, swindling, gang wars, robbery and theft, and burglary of unattended residences. (PNA)

Source: Philippines News Agency