THE Duterte government has prepared measures to ensure public safety as the country observes Holy Week, Malacañang guaranteed Tuesday, April 16.
In a statement, Presidential Spokesperson Salvador Panelo said public safety is the government's "top priority" during this year's observance of Holy Week.
"As the Lenten season commences the exodus to various places, concerned government agencies have been placed on a heightened alert status to ensure the safety and security of all," the Palace official said.
"Public safety continues to be our top priority. These include additional security deployments in different areas of convergence, such as bus terminals, airports, seaports, vital government and private installations, churches, malls, and other public recreation areas," he added.
Panelo noted that the Philippine National Police has already deployed 11,600 police officers in Metro Manila and set up over 4,500 assistance desks all throughout the country.
He added that the Department of Transportation has launched "Oplan Biyaheng Ayos: Semana Santa 2019" to provide a "convenient and safe" commuting experience for passengers.
Panelo also stressed that the Metropolitan Manila Development Authority has deployed some 1,500 traffic personnel to assist travelers during the week-long break.
The airport officials have also readied security and transport measures, including the deployment of airport police department personnel in key areas around the airport and he manning of 24/7 airport police help desks, Panelo said.
Panelo likewise said that the Department of Tourism has already coordinated with the local government units to set up emergency care systems and facilities in tourist destinations ahead of the Holy Week.
Panelo urged the public to also cooperate with the government and report to authorities any suspicious activities.
"As we observe the Holy Week , we call on the public for their support through cooperation in the conduct of safety checks and security checkpoints, compliance with traffic regulations and continued maintenance of complete situational awareness of their surroundings," he said.
"We also urge the public to immediately report suspicious characters and unattended materials such as packages, bags and other objects that are out of place to proper authorities," he added.
Maundy Thursday (April 18), Good Friday (April 19), and Black Saturday (April 20) have been declared holidays to allow the Catholic faithful in the country to observe the Holy Week.
Panelo urged the faithful to remember that the annual religious observance is "a time for reflection."
He also wished that the country would have a "solemn, peaceful, and renewing break" for this year's Holy Week.
"It is a genuine message of solidarity to everyone regardless of the differences in our affiliation or denomination. May the life of sacrifice and humility that Jesus Christ had lived serve as an inspiration to us all so that we may continue to help each other especially in times of need and adversity," he said.
"And may each one of us have a divinely cleansing and spiritually fulfilling days of Lent," he added. (SunStar Philippines)