A group of Manila businessmen in Ermita and Malate districts has decided to take sweeping action against crimes to revive the busy commercial district and restore its glorious image to tourists. The Ermita Malate Business Owners Association’s (EMBOA) launched the “Streetwatch” program and “Hotline 117” in a bid to rid Ermita and Malate districts of crimes that commonly plague tourists and workers in the area. “At first, this is what EMBOA is eyeing for, aside from spearheading beautification campaigns like “Harap at Likod ko, Linis at Alaga ko”, we want to provide security and safety in the area so that the residents , stakeholders and domestic and foreign tourists can feel comfortable and that they are safe whenever they walk on the streets of Ermita, Malate,” Michelle Pe, EMBOA President said. Streetwatch will be implemented in 10 “crime-prone” streets in Ermita as identified by authorities: Mabini, Adriatico, Padre Faura, Kalaw, Bacobo, United Nations Avenue, Roxas Boulevard, Pedro Gil, M.H. Del Pilar and Taft Avenue. Streetwatch entails free seminars and training to barangay officers and security officers of various business establishments. The program also provides for the increase of police visibility to deter crimes in the area. A Memorandum of Agreement (MOA) between EMBOA officers, and representatives from the Department of Interior and Local Government, Foundation for Crime Prevention (FCP) and the Philippine Long Distance Telephone (PLDT) Company was signed at the Manila city hall yesterday. In the MOA, the FCP shall institute an alert system to be used by members of the community among other responsibilities. Patrol 117 will manage calls for emergency assistance; EMBOA was tasked to designate streetwatch coordinators or leaders and assist in organizing streetwatch communities. Meanwhile, PLDT will provide complimentary SIM cards to streetwatch coordinators to facilitate communication among them. Ninety volunteers have already been trained and certified as streetwatchers composed of 50 barangay officers and 40 security officers from various establishments in the pilot area.
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