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Thursday, December 04, 2014

20 Metro zones under PNP security mantle

20 Metro zones under PNP security mantle

POWER POINT Interior SecretaryMar Roxas fields questions from editors and reporters at the INQUIRER editorial office during his presentation of the Philippine National Police’s data-driven, analysis-based program which curbed crime in MetroManila by half by the last week of November. Behind him are (from left) Police Directors Carmelo Valmoria and MarceloGarbo Jr. and CIDG chief Benjamin Magalong. EDWIN BACASMAS

From “pulis patola” (useless cops) to “pulis panalo” (effective cops).

The Philippine National Police has taken a multipronged approach to deal with criminality in the country, a move which Interior Secretary Mar Roxas hopes will help bring back the public’s trust in the 150,000-strong force.

In a briefing with Inquirer editors and reporters on Tuesday night, Roxas noted that the PNP’s renewed anticriminality campaign had resulted in a 50-percent decline in recorded crimes in Metro Manila in the past six months.

Accompanied by top PNP officers, the interior secretary explained the reforms that had been initiated in the police organization and plans for the entire force.

Roxas said the PNP had also laid out a security mantle in each of the 19 commercial districts and shopping malls in the metropolis, considered “high traffic convergence zones.”

“The PNP’s past campaigns against crimes had no direction. Its efforts had no clear strategies. They were not sustained because of the ‘ningas cogon’ mentality,” he said.

“What we need is a deliberate, programmatic and sustained approach. We should be relentless in pursuing criminals,” he said.

3 programs

Since June, Roxas said the police had introduced three main programs that netted positive results for the PNP, long considered one of the most corrupt and inept government agencies.
Roxas said the PNP introduced the new methods in all of the 38 police stations in Metro Manila, the country’s center of trade and business.

According to Roxas, the PNP’s new campaign plans were the offshoot of President Aquino’s order several months ago to solve the spate of high-profile killings in different parts of the country.
“Basically, our approach was to work out the situation and turn it around like in a business setting. We had shoddy products and services that’s why the customers were avoiding us. There was a downward spiral,” he said.

For a start, the PNP implemented an honest-to-goodness method of reporting crime incidents, noting the culture among police commanders who manipulate and withhold actual crime reports to make it appear that the security situation in their areas of jurisdiction was manageable.

PNP Director General Alan Purisima, who was absent during the briefing, has ordered the audit of police blotters in all PNP precincts to allow the national police headquarters to have a true picture of the crime situation in the country.

Data-driven approach

Roxas said this method allowed the PNP to institute a “data-driven, analysis-based” approach in dealing with crimes.

It also allowed police commanders to develop “geo-maps” showing the type of crimes prevalent in certain areas and the position of police units tasked with patrol duties, he said.

“Data integrity is very important because you don’t know where you are if you don’t know where you are going. In the past, the data arriving in Camp Crame were not accurate. They were even manipulated,” Roxas said.

Additional checkpoints

To stem crimes perpetrated by motorcycle-riding criminals, the PNP set up additional checkpoints in major roads and residential areas in Metro Manila through a program dubbed “Oplan Lambat.”
Describing it as a clear “anticriminality intervention,” Roxas said the program was aimed at improving police visibility and making police presence felt as a deterrent to crime.

He said each police station had been conducting six checkpoint operations within a 24-hour period.
“It used to be just one checkpoint in a day. Now, each police station carries out 42 checkpoint operations in a week. This explains why the crimes have decreased,” Roxas said.

Tailor-fit programs

From a weekly average of 1,029 crimes per week from June to July, Roxas said the PNP recorded 545 crime incidents in the last week of November.

Like a tailor-made suit, security measures for malls and areas with high foot traffic in Metro Manila have been “customized” based on these places’ needs when it comes to solving and preventing street crimes.

The security program called “Pasadya” makes use of data on crime trends, particularly street crimes, such as robbery and theft.

Based on the data, police stations deploy the required number of personnel and assign them to specific patrol beats to make sure the whole vicinity is covered.

There is also strong coordination with security guards, who are in charge of keeping the peace inside malls, and barangay officials under the barangays’ peacekeeping action teams.

Malls, convergence zones

“There are specific security plans for these areas. Our force multipliers converge in these areas so that our efforts would be coherent particularly during the weekend,” Roxas said.

These areas include SM Marikina and Riverbank Mall in Marikina City; Robinsons Metro East in Pasig City; SM Megamall and Star Mall in Mandaluyong City; Green Hills Shopping Center in San Juan City; Tutuban Center Mall and Robinsons Place in Manila; and Mall of Asia in Pasay City.

Also identified as convergence zones are the Makati Business Center in Makati City; Alabang Town Center in Muntinlupa City; Market!Market! and SM Aura in Taguig City; and SM North Edsa, Trinoma, Araneta Center, Eton Centris, Eastwood and Robinsons Galleria in Quezon City.

Radio groups

Community radio groups, such as Philippine Amateur Radio Association, React Philippines, Kabalikat Civicom and Volunteer Radio Communication Group Inc. have been tapped for easier communication among all security personnel.

In Manila, for instance, Pasadya was rolled out last month and now focuses on Tutuban Center Mall and Robinsons Place in Ermita, both crowded shopping areas, especially during the holidays.

Another area now included in the program is the University of Santo Tomas, as well as the school’s perimeter, said Senior Supt. Rolando Nana, Manila Police District director.

“The [Pasadya] program was implemented to make security forces inside the mall more aware of the criminal activities in the building. The police are posted outside together with barangay ‘tanods’ (watchmen) to man the vicinity. The radio groups help in relaying information. It’s a concerted effort to minimize crime in these areas,” said Nana.

Police work in shifts to make sure these areas are manned throughout the day. If the area requires 24-hour police presence because of the high crowd density, then police will man the vicinity 24/7, said Nana.

“Our police are assigned patrol beats, meaning they are accountable for minimizing crime or apprehending suspects in certain spots in their assigned area,” said Nana.
Aside from Tutuban, Ermita and UST, MPD is also looking into implementing Pasadya in Divisoria, the university belt and Malate.

Defined patrol beats

“The patrol beats, from point A to point B, are defined. We change them according to the recurrence of crime in the area,” said Carmelo Valmoria, National Capital Region Police Office (NCRPO) regional director in an interview at the Inquirer on Tuesday night.

Pasadya is part of the PNP’s Oplan Lambat Sibat, a long-term anticrime plan that makes use of data analysis of reported crime statistics in order to accurately pinpoint criminals and execute police operations.

The PNP rolled out Oplan Lambat Sibat for Metro Manila in June. Through weekly command conferences, the PNP is able to countercheck the number of crimes reported per station across the metropolis to see if there are any discrepancies.

In addition, around 1,300 officers usually confined to administrative work were reassigned to cover areas with low police-to-population ratio.

A force of 600 officers from the NCRPO’s District Public Safety Battalions was given the additional task of conducting “one-time big-time” anticrime operations, which, for one, resulted in multiple confiscation of stolen motorcycles, said Valmoria.

Targeted actions

Valmoria also cited the new requirement of police stations to have at least six different checkpoints a day.

“The point of Oplan Lambat Sibat is to cast a wide anticrime dragnet with intel-driven, targeted actions,” said Roxas. “We don’t rely on chance when catching criminals. We work together and we work with a sustainable structure.”

“We’re very confident that with these changes, we can make the PNP pulis panalo and not pulis patola,” Roxas said.