PUERTO PRINCESA CITY, Palawan – The regional police office in Mimaropa on Monday announced that 114 new police officers have been deployed in tourism hubs and other key areas as part of efforts to intensify police visibility in this city.
Col. Ronie Bacuel, director of the Puerto Princesa City Police Office (PPCPO), said this initiative is part of their commitment to ensure the safety of residents and preserve the city's reputation as a tourist destination in the country.
He said that by deploying these new police officers, the PPCPO aims to "bolster security measures and contribute to the overall well-being of the city."
Bacuel said 20 officers will be assigned to the Tourist Police Unit (TPU) and will be tasked with carrying out regular patrols in malls and other tourist destinations throughout the city.
He also underscored the need to strengthen police visibility and tourism security in Puerto Princesa, as its situation is unique being a prime destination.
In addition to monitoring residents, they also have to keep an eye on the visitors who arrive for vacations and other purposes.
The ideal police-to-civilian ratio, he added, is 1 officer to 500 civilians, a target that has nearly been achieved, but still falls short.
Bacuel said this ratio is seldom attained due to the additional responsibility of safeguarding not just the city's residents but also the tourists.
He said this challenge is more prevalent in smaller towns and not in Puerto Princesa, which happens to be one of the largest cities in the country.
Currently, with a ratio of 1 officer to 400 civilians and considering the influx of tourists, the number of police personnel, totaling 752, is still inadequate for the city's population of about 310,000 in 66 barangays based on the 2020 census.
To bolster their efforts in monitoring tourists, Bacuel said they have requested 50 bicycles from the Philippine National Police (PNP) leadership for their bike patrol unit.
Bacuel expressed his hope that this request would be granted.
"The importance of having our own police bike patrol cannot be overstated. This specialized unit plays a crucial role in enhancing law enforcement efforts and promoting community safety," he said.
Bacuel said part of their strategy to enhance police visibility and prevent crime includes establishing three additional police stations.
At present, only Police Station 1 and Police Station 2, with the help of the City Police Mobile Force Company, are overseeing security in 66 barangays.
"The addition of these new police stations, their response time to incidents occurring in distant barangays would significantly improve," he added. (PNA)