Bicol cops used APEC security training during Papal visit in Tacloban — regional chief says

January 23, 2015 12:10 pm 

By Rhaydz B. Barcia

LEGAZPI CITY, Jan. 23 (PNA) — The 1,500 Bicol policemen that composed the Task Force Papal Visit in Tacloban City applied their rigid training intended for the Asia Pacific Economic Cooperation Summit in safeguarding Pope Francis and the multitude of pilgrims from across the country who flocked to the resurrected typhoon-damaged area.

Chief Supt. Victor Deona, Bicol police director, said Friday that he sent the Bicol police officers to augment the force of the Philippine National Police Region 8 and form part of the security unit for the papal visit.

The Bicol contingent, led by Senior Supt. Romulo Esteban as task force commander, shared its expertise after uncovering lapses and unsystematic protocols which might cause unprecedented negative incidents if not dealt with properly.

The group aptly executed its security training in preparation for the APEC Summit sessions in Bicol to ensure the fruitful and systematic flow of event during the state and pastoral visit of Pope Francis in the typhoon-ravaged province of Leyte.

This writer personally witnessed how the Bicol police's security preparation proved effective after exercising it in Region 8 to help the local government unit and Region 8 police handle and safeguard a big crowd of people.

The PNA noted that the Bicol police officers discovered certain lapses of local government officials in Tacloban City and PNP Region 8 officers when they found out that the police outposts that are supposed to be manned by cops for 24 hours and seven days a week had no personnel to guide and assist the incoming PNP augmentation force from other regions and pilgrims.

Aside from the absence of policemen to man the outposts in Tacloban, the school classrooms to be used as temporary quarters for the huge number of police augmentation forces were closed, had no water and portalets.

This prompted the Bicol contingent to go to local residences where its members paid Php5.00 to use toilets or Php20.00 if they would take a bath.

Aside from no water, no portalets and closed classrooms, the PNA observed that the teachers and students went to their respective schools to attend regular classes, which dismayed the policemen from the Bicol region as well as the augmentation forces from Iloilo.

The Bicol reinforcement forces served as foot soldiers during the state and pastoral visit of Pope Francis in Leyte.

Close to 5,000 cops from Regions 2, 3, 4-A, 5, 6, 7 and Caraga formed part of the 25,000 PNP personnel who provided operational support to the Presidential Security Group, which provided close-in security to the Pope and his entourage.

The augmentation force from Region 2 led by Senior Supt. Agustin Tumangin, camp commander, whose travel requires three days, left Tacloban City as soon as the Philippine Coast Guard gave the green light for roll-on-roll off vessels to sail. (PNA)



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