DOT welcomes reactivation of tourist cops

MANILA – Tourism Secretary Bernadette Romulo-Puyat hailed on Friday the reactivation of the tourist police units, saying it would hasten the tourism industry’s recovery from the coronavirus disease 2019 (Covid-19) pandemic.

Puyat’s statement came after Philippine National Police (PNP) Chief, Gen. Archie Gamboa, announced that the Tourist-Oriented Police for Community Order and Protection (TOPCOP) would be revived in areas where quarantine restrictions have been eased.

Travel for tourists and non-tourists will be safer with the TOPCOP strictly enforcing health protocols and guidelines in areas under modified general community quarantine (MGCQ), she said.

The Inter-Agency Task Force for the Management of Emerging Infectious Diseases (IATF-EID) has eased the quarantine restrictions in some areas of the country.

In addition to enforcing proper health protocols, the tourist police will also provide added security operations for local tourists and establishments and respond to tourist-related security and safety issues.

Gamboa said the TOPCOP would strengthen the existing Tourist Police Assistance Desks (TPAD) across the country.

In 2019, a memorandum of agreement was signed by Puyat to renew the partnership between the Department of Tourism (DOT) and the PNP on the training of tourist police.

Under the 2019 Integrated TOPCOP program, the DOT will train police personnel on the basic principles of tourist safety and the Filipino brand of service. The modules also include lessons on tourism awareness.

Last year, 719 police personnel graduated from the program.

The Office of Industry Manpower Development and the regional tourism offices hold the training sessions, in collaboration with the PNP and participating local government units. (DOT PR)