The Baguio City Police Office is all set to ensure peace and order for a week-long event of national significance with more than 600 uniformed personnel and volunteers ready for deployment.
BCPO Director Col. Francisco Bulwayan, Jr. said 653 personnel will be deployed during the barangay and Sangguniang Kabataan elections on Oct. 30 while more than 500 uniformed men and 156 volunteers will be positioned for the All Saints’ and All Souls’ Day observance on Nov. 1 and 2.
He said intense preparations are being made to secure the public as it is not a usual scenario for the BCPO to be managing peace and order during successive events of national significance.
Bulwayan said the BCPO is currently sorting the volunteer groups to be deployed together with the uniformed personnel in the various polling areas on Oct. 30.
He said a lot of civil society organizations have sent their intentions to help secure the grassroots elections.
He said they are looking for groups that will provide special services, such as those that will help in crowd control, teams that will provide emergency medical assistance or emergency responders, and those that will be in charge of communication equipment.
“The deployment of these teams will also be based on the demand,” he said.
For the All Saints’ and All Souls’ Day observance, Bulwayan said 496 personnel plus 49 augmentation will be deployed together with the 156 volunteers who regularly help the BCPO.
“We have these regular volunteers who already know their roles during the Undas, although we are also receiving more requests from groups who are willing to help us,” he said.
On traffic management, no rerouting scheme will be implemented during the barangay and SK elections on Oct. 30 and along Quirino Highway (Naguilian Road) on Nov. 1 and 2.
Like last year, BCPO Traffic Enforcement Unit Deputy Chief, Capt. Mark Botangen, said the two lanes of Quirino Highway will remain open, but a drop-and-go scheme for those visiting the cemeteries will be adopted.
Bulwayan, however, said they will request for a portion of the widened highway to be used for parking during the Undas, but with both lanes still open.
He said they are anticipating a lack of parking space because Baguio’s thoroughfares will not only be accommodating visitors to the cemeteries but also an influx of tourists because of the long weekend.
The BCPO also reminded the public that cleaning at the cemeteries is only until Oct. 30 and bringing cleaning materials to the graveyards on Nov. 1 and 2 will no longer be allowed.
The public is also advised to visit the cemeteries earlier to avoid getting stuck in traffic and the crowd. – Jane B. Cadalig