MANILA – Around 14,000 police officers have been deployed in Metro Manila to ensure a peaceful and orderly celebration of the Yuletide season, an official of the National Capital Region Police Office (NCRPO) said Friday.

In a statement, NCRPO spokesperson, Lt. Col. Dexter Versola, said aside from the deployment of the cops around the metropolis, they will be monitoring activities during the forthcoming Christmas period leading to the New Year holidays.

They will also monitor all law enforcement and public safety operations by PNP units down to police stations, particularly the situation in churches and other places of convergence during the traditional Simbang Gabi (night masses) and Misa de Gallo.

“The five police district directors under the NCRPO’s command have been instructed to conduct security assessments in their respective areas to determine crime-prone areas and plan their deployment of foot and mobile patrols accordingly,” he said.

The NCRPO covers five districts -- the Manila Police District (MPD), Quezon City Police District (QCPD), Northern Police District (NPD), Southern Police District (SPD) and Eastern Police District (EPD).

Versola said the police deployment and other public safety operations during the Yuletide season are also meant to sustain the anti-criminality campaign of the NCRPO under Brig. Gen. Jonnel Estomo that has resulted in the gradual decline in index crimes in Metro Manila.

“Noong nag assume ang ating Regional Director na si Brig. Gen. Jonnel C. Estomo ay bumaba na yung crime rate mula noong September papunta na ng October, November. Ang pagbaba ng crime rate ay dahil sa programa na inilunsad ng ating regional director na tinatawag na (When Brig. Gen. Estomo assumed his post, the crime rate has dropped from September to October and November. The drop in crime rate is due to the program launched by our regional director called) S.A.F.E. NCRPO which stands for ‘the police must be Seen, all programs must be Appreciated by the people, all program must be Felt by the people, and all actions must be Extra ordinary,” he told reporters in a phone interview.

Versola said the program, which essentially boosts police visibility in Metro Manila, was implemented on Aug. 26 upon the assumption of command of Estomo, and resulted in the decrease of recorded crimes: from 663 in September, the number decreased to 596 in October, and further decreased to 468 in November.

Statistics also showed that the index crimes recorded in November this year were much lower than the 829 in November 2020, and 599 in November 2021.

“Nagkaroon na ng concrete evidence, hindi lang doon sa data, of course nasasabi rin ng mga mamamayan na mas nakikita na ng tao (There is already concrete evidence, not only in the data, of course citizens are also saying that people are seeing more),” said Versola.

Meanwhile, the NCRO has doubled its efforts in cascading KASIMBAYANAN (KApulisan, SIMBAhan, at PamaYANAN) down to their lowest-ranking police officer, with the aim of establishing a synergized partnership with the general public and religious sectors towards the betterment of the public service.

Estomo believes that criminality, terrorism, illegal drugs, vices, and all other forms of community threats are best battled in unison, and the support of the community, whose values were appropriately influenced and strengthened by the church or spiritual beliefs and inclinations, is essential in the maintenance of peace and order in the community.

"With support from the church and the community at large, our vision for a better Philippines can be strengthened by intensifying our drive for law and order, anti-criminality and internal security through Kasimbayanan and of course S.A.F.E NCRPO. I believe that this is everyone’s concern, to align Kasimbayanan to each duties no matter what office you handle or belonged to as far as public peace and order and change in the organization is concerned." said Estomo in a separate statement. (PNA)