MANILA Some 29,000 police officers will be on duty to secure the metropolis this Lenten season, the National Capital Region Police Office (NCRPO) said Wednesday.
"We will deploy all of our personnel. No reinforcement. All available personnel will be deployed during the Holy Week celebration," NCRPO Director Oscar Albayalde said in an interview with reporters in Camp Crame.
Albayalde stressed that all leaves of police personnel during the season are cancelled.
The NCRPO chief said they would work closely with religious leaders in some areas and explained that policemen would also be deployed near churches and other public areas as well as transport terminals on the last week of March.
He added that about 5,000 men from NCRPO will be sent to identified potential problem areas.
"More or less, di bababa ng (not lower than) 5,000 men will be sent. The threat is always there. The threat is global already. We assume palagi na the threat is nandyan (We assume that the threat is always there)," Albayalde explained.
The NCRPO chief said that they would be relying on a number of strategies to smoke out possible terrorist plans.
"Maraming paraan (There are many ways), we have our own wings and guidelines. Our intelligence kasi, we call it human intelligence, yun ang pinaka-effective dyan (that is the most effective method). Meron tayong (We have) leaders, the imams and the leaders. Kung magre-recruit ngayon sa Muslim leaders, di sila magtatagumpay (If they will recruit Muslim leaders now, they will not succeed)," Albayalde stressed.
"Identified 'tong mga lugar na to. Malalaking Muslim areas like Quiapo dito sa atin, sa Taguig, sa Maharlika napakalaki ito yung tinitingnan natin. More than 70 Muslim enclaves dito sa Metro Manila pero di natin sinasabi na lahat yan pinagtataguan yan (These areas are identified. We are looking at big Muslim areas here like Quiapo and Maharlika in Taguig. We are looking on these huge areas. More than 70 Muslims enclaves are here in Metro Manila but we do not say that all these are hiding places of terrorists)," he added.
Albayalde also lauded the support of Manila-based Muslim leaders in working with the PNP to prevent members of terror groups from hiding.
"Usual na ginagawa natin is the support of Muslim leaders sa area. Even sa Quiapo, napakaganda ng support nila sa atin at nagbigay sila ng pahayag na di sila sasapi sa mga threat groups. (The usual thing that we do is get the support of Muslim leaders in the area. Even in Quiapo, they actively support us and assure that they will not join threat groups.) If they notice out of ordinary, they will report to us.Nakahuli tayo ng ASG (Abu Sayyaf Group), ISIS sa QC (We caught ASG and ISIS members in QC), it's also (from) the cooperation of Muslim leaders. Maganda kasi yung collaboration sa atin kasi ayaw rin nila ma-involve ang whole community sa (terrorism) (We have a good collaboration with them because they also do not want the whole community to be involved in terrorism)," the NCRPO chief added.
Aside from religious extremists, Albayalde said they are also keeping an eye on recruitment activities by communist rebels from the urban poor.
In 2017, the PNP fielded 75,000 police officers nationwide for Holy Week, an increase from 68,000 in 2016.
Source: Philippine News Agency