MANILA, Philippines – The Christmas Eve celebrations in the country were “generally peaceful” except for a few untoward incidents monitored by the police, Philippine National Police Chief Director General Alan Purisima told Radyo Inquirer 990AM on Tuesday.
Purisima noted that these incidents involved deaths and injuries from fires that hit parts of Metro Manila, and commotions caused by drunk men.
“Sa ating monitoring, generally mapayapa po meron pong mga insidenteng nangyari na kinasawi ng ating mga kababayan at tsaka meron pong hindi nadidisiplina yung sarili kapag nakakainom sumosobra na sila,” he said.
At least three people were reportedly killed in two separate fires that struck Metro Manila early Tuesday.
Radio reports said that fire hit a residential area in Barangay Bungad, Project 7, Quezon City that claimed the lives of at least three people. The fire reached Task Force Charlie at 5:47 am and was put out more than an hour later.
Another fire left at least 2,000 families homeless in Barangay St. Joseph, San Juan City, reports said. No casualties had been reported from the fire.
Purisima had earlier said that though the PNP had not monitored any security threats during the yuletide season, it raised its security alert status to ensure the safety of people travelling to and from their provinces.
The police, he said, were also on the lookout for the rise of accidents and injuries caused by firecrackers and pyrotechnics as the New Year’s celebrations draws near.
Meanwhile, Purisima said that changes in the PNP would be introduced to ensure clean and fair elections in 2013.
He said police who have relatives or family members running in the 2013 elections would be “reshuffled” to make sure that they would not use their positions to influence the elections in the areas they were assigned to.
“Yun pong mga kamaganakan ng mga mga kapulisan natin na kumakandidato sa local elections lalo na, ay ililipat po natin sila ng position para hindi po nila maiimpluwensiyahan yung magiging resulta ng halalan,” Purisima said.
Relatives by consanguinity and by affinity, he said, would apply in this case.
Purisima said the guidelines for the reshuffle, which would affect more than 100 policemen, had been given to regional directors and the policy would be implemented before the election period.
The PNP chief admitted that he himself has a cousin running for mayor in San Ildefonso, Ilocos Sur but that the cousin was unopposed.
Purisima said the PNP was also firm in its efforts to crack down unlicensed fire arms with its campaign ordering police to seek households reported to have unlicensed fire arms.
He had earlier noted that about 530,000 licensed firearms holders in the country did not apply for renewal of licenses, and that this was a concern since these were threats to the security for next year’s elections.
Purisima reiterated that owners of firearms without licenses would be held criminally liable after the December 31 deadline for the renewal of gun licenses.