NCRPO intensifies security preps on ‘Simbang Gabi’

By Christopher Lloyd Caliwan

December 15, 2018, 4:37 pm

MANILA -- With the yearly "Simbang Gabi" set to start at dawn on Sunday, the head of the National Capital Region Police District Office (NCRPO) has 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,” NCRPO Director Guillermo Eleazar said on Saturday, adding that his order is in line with the Philippine National Police’s “Ligtas Paskuhan 2018” program.

Eleazar said that at the start of the traditional Simbang Gabi, he tasked the five district directors to establish police assistance centers in major churches where the public can ask for immediate police assistance.

“For the Simbang Gabi that will start tomorrow (December 16), more than a thousand police officers will be deployed in almost 300 churches to ensure the safety of churchgoers, not to mention the personnel who will be securing the routes and roads leading to and coming from these places of worship,” he said.

The NCRPO chief added that patrol teams assigned to churches will make sure that petty criminals and gangs do not bother the churchgoers.

He said patrol teams have instructions to watch out for snatchers and thieves, as well as troublemakers.

“We are fielding about 7,823 NCRPO police officers with the full support of 7,955 force multipliers to oversee the peace and order situation of our metropolis,” Eleazar said.

“They will be posted strategically regionwide 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 added.

He also advised churchgoers not to bring jewelry and large amounts of money to the church so as not to attract the attention of muggers and thieves.

“Then, for any untoward incident, you may contact us through the nearest police stations or NCRPO’s hotline at 0915-888-8181/ 0999-901-8181.,” Eleazar said.

The "Simbang Gabi" is a Filipino tradition, during which, the faithful attend pre-dawn Masses on the nine days leading to Christmas Day.  (PNA)