Over 100 cops to be deployed in Cebu City for Simbang Gabi

MORE than 100 police personnel and force multipliers will be deployed to 35 Catholic churches in Cebu City to ensure security during the Simbang Gabi, which will start on December 16, 2022.

Police Colonel Ireneo Dalogdog, chief of the Cebu City Police Office (CCPO), said they will intensify the security in the city’s churches, as hundreds of people are expected to flock to these areas for the dawn masses.

“We have identified 35 big or major churches dito sa area of responsibility namin, and we will deploy 70 personnel at mayron tayong additional coming from the force multipliers, which is 40 personnel ang ma dedeploy natin,” said Dalogdog.

Aside from churches, Dalogdog said they will also deploy policemen to secure vital installations, ports, terminals and malls in the city.

He said the CCPO will raise the alert status from normal to full alert even before the start of the Simbang Gabi, noting the number of crimes happening in other areas in Cebu province.

Police Colonel Rommel Ochave, chief of Cebu Police Provincial Office (CPPO), said they have also readied their security measures to be implemented in different churches in the province.

He said they will intensify security in parishes and churches that Cebu Archbishop Jose Palma will visit, believing these will be visited by a number of people.

Ochave said they will install police assistance desks in major churches in the province to assist the public who may have concerns or problems.

Palma earlier said that he will visit towns that were greatly affected by Super Typhoon Odette in December 2021. Odette battered Cebu when it made landfall in Carcar City on December 16, 2021.

For his part, Police Regional Office-Central Visayas Director Brigadier General Roderick Augustus Alba ordered the city and provincial police offices in Central Visayas to assess the deployment of their personnel.

“I think they have to assess and re-assess all the time yung kanilang deployment kase ito ay nag dedepend sa dami ng tao at saang area pupunta at saan tayo mag fo-focus the time of the day, the hour, at what particular day of the week, so that doon mag focus,” Alba said.

The police earlier said that they expect the number of crime incidents to increase this Christmas season, noting that some criminals are targeting people who are receiving their Christmas bonuses.

Meanwhile, the CCPO said it also aims not to see a repeat of the incident in 2019 when a 19-year-old woman died due to party drug overdose.

Police Lieutenant Colonel Janette Rafter, deputy city director for operation of the CCPO, said they have been monitoring the possible entry of party drugs in Cebu especially this Christmas and Sinulog season.

Based on police information, party drugs like ecstasy are distributed during parties and concerts. With this, Rafter said they will deploy “covert personnel” or cops in civilian clothes to monitor party hubs in Cebu.

Rafter admitted that the loosening of Covid-19 restrictions may contribute to the proliferation of illegal drugs in Cebu, noting that peddlers can easily carry the drugs as checkpoints have not been intensified lately.

The City Government and Sinulog Foundation, though, have agreed in their recent meeting that they will be strict in the releasing of permits to party organizers, stressing that sa safety and security validation will be done by the police.

This safety and security validation will be done to prevent the entry of contrabands to concert venues.

Rafter said that as of December 6, they have not monitored the presence of party drugs in Cebu.

She appealed to the public to help the police monitor and report any information regarding the selling and buying of illegal drugs. (AYB/LMY)