PNP reminds public this Christmas season: If we can get around freely, criminals can too
MANILA, Philippines — With the COVID-19 limits having been loosened, the Philippine National Police (PNP) has issued a warning to the public to be vigilant throughout the holiday season.
During the flag-raising ceremony on Monday, PNP officer-in-charge and Lt. Gen. Rhodel Sermonia said that they expect the public to go all out in celebrating the holiday season, especially after COVID-19 restrictions from 2020 to 2021 prevented people from meeting their relatives.
However, along with those going out for celebrations, Sermonia said this would also be an opportune time for criminals to victimize people.
“In two days’ time, we will be entering the most-anticipated month of the year: December, the Yuletide month. Ramdam na ramdam natin ang papalapit na Christmas season, mahaba ang gabi, maiksi ang araw (We feel the upcoming Christmas season with longer nights and shorter days) […] We all miss this kind of celebration for two years because of the restrictions we imposed to protect our loved ones from COVID-19 pandemic,” he said.
“We are finally free from the fear of getting seriously affected by COVID-19, but I guess we could be better if the people can also feel free from fearing crime. Alam natin na kasama sa pagkahulagpos natin sa pandemya, kasamang nagdiriwang ang masasamang loob sapagkat malaya na rin silang makakapang-biktima at makakasabay sa muling pagsigla ng ating ekonomiya,” he added.
(We know that with us being free from the pandemic, criminal minds also celebrate because they are free to victimize people and attempt to keep up with the recovering economy.)
According to Sermonia, this was why they were heeding the orders of President Ferdinand “Bongbong” Marcos Jr. and PNP chief Gen. Rodolfo Azurin Jr. to set up crime prevention measures to allay the concerns of Filipinos.
The acting PNP chief, who filled in for Azurin, who is on a foreign mission, said it is better to prevent crimes than solve them.
“It is very timely that we go back to our proactive crime prevention efforts this Yuletide season. Tayo ay magkakaisa at magtutulungan na panindigan ang numero unong marching order ni Pangulong Bongbong Marcos at binitawang utos ng ating mahal na chief PNP, Gen. Rodolfo Azurin Jr., na ating palakasin ang mga crime prevention measures natin upang matugunan natin ‘yong fear of crime,” he said.
(We will unite and help each other maintain the number one marching order of President Marcos and the directive of PNP chief Azurin to strengthen our crime prevention measures to address this fear of crime.)
“Sa pagbalik ng masiglang pagdiriwang ng bansang Pilipino ng Kapaskuhan, gawin nating makahulugan na pa-Pasko sa ating mga kababayan ang maiiwas sila sa lahat ng masasamang loob na maaring maglipana kasabay ng paglabas ng mga kababayan natin sa sobrang excited na salubungin ang panahon ng Kapaskuhan,” he added.
(With the vibrant celebration of Christmas here in the Philippines, let us make this season more precious for our fellow Filipinos by protecting them from crimes that may be prevalent, along with the increased mobility of people anxious to celebrate the Christmas season.)
Before the COVID-19 pandemic, police operated with a higher alert status during the Christmas season because several criminal activities like robbery, pickpocketing and even scams were more common due to the public’s higher mobility.
READ: Police to be more visible in public spaces for ‘Ber’ months
Police said the public must also watch out for possible robbery of homes as people go on vacation during the holidays. But for the Christmas celebrations during the COVID-19 pandemic, officers shifted their focus on ensuring that minimum public health standards were observed.
However, experts expect more people to come out for this year’s Christmas celebrations considering higher vaccination rates and fewer severe cases.
Recently, the PNP admitted that they observed a slight increase in theft and robbery within the National Capital Region and two other regions just before the Christmas season started.
To counter that, PNP spokesperson Colonel Jean Fajardo said that the police leadership had adjusted police deployment to correspond to modified mall operating hours.
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