1st Simbang Gabi in Metro Manila ‘crime-free’: NCRPO

No crimes were reported on the first “Simbang Gabi” on Sunday dawn, the National Capital Region Police Office (NCRPO) said.

“There was no untoward incident related to the first day of Simbang Gabi (Dec. 16) of Ligtas Paskuhan 2018,” NCRPO Director Guillermo Eleazar, told the Philippine News Agency.

The “Oplan Ligtas Kapaskuhan 2018” was designed to minimize crimes during the Yuletide season as PNP Chief Director General Oscar Albayalde reminded anew all police commanders about the operational guidelines and procedures to be undertaken in maintaining order, law enforcement, and in providing public safety services during the traditional nine-day ‘Simbang Gabi’.

Albayalde said he expects field commanders to make inspection rounds in churches around the metropolis and suburbs on Sunday to assess the implementation of beat patrol and mobile patrol operations in areas where parishioners gather to attend the traditional nine-day dawn masses.

The PNP chief instructed all police regional directors to redirect police patrol operations to maximize police visibility around churches.

Albayalde specifically instructed field unit commanders to deploy mobile patrol units with blinkers turned on to visibly establish police presence but not necessarily create undue alarm to the public.

Local police units were also reminded to be on the lookout for criminal elements engaged in common street crimes such as mugging, swindling, gang wars, robbery and theft, and burglary of unattended residences.

Eleazar ordered the five district directors to tighten security around churches and residential areas to protect churchgoers and thwart burglars.

The five districts covered by the NCRPO are the Manila Police District (MPD), Quezon City Police District (QCPD), Northern Police District (NPD), Southern Police District (SPD), and Eastern Police District (EPD).

“The Team NCRPO celebrates this Christmas by intensifying police visibility to ensure there will be peace, order, safety and joy in our midst, every moment of the day,” Eleazar said, adding that his order is in line with the Philippine National Police’s “Ligtas Paskuhan 2018” program.

“We are fielding about 7,823 NCRPO police officers with the full support of 7,955 force multipliers to oversee the peace and order situation of our metropolis,” Eleazar said.

“They will be posted strategically regionwide at places of convergence and vital installations. We will post ‘police assistance hubs’ in all major public markets, malls, churches, airports, LRT and MRT terminals, seaports, and transport terminals,” he added.

The “Simbang Gabi” or dawn masses, a tradition deeply rooted in the religious culture of the Catholic Filipinos. serves as a prelude to the festive and meaningful celebration of the birth of Jesus Christ. (PNA/Christopher Lloyd Caliwan)