Samal Mayor welcomes establishment of Tourist Police center

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DAVAO CITY — To strengthen the tourism industry in the Island Garden City of Samal (IGACOS), the Police Regional Office Command will establish a Tourist Police Center according to Police regional Director  Brigadier General Filmore Escobal. Samal, being a major tourist destination in the region according to Escobal, should provide a secure and safe environment for both local and foreign visitors.

“We will provide a comfortable and secured environment not only for tourists but also for  the investors, hand in hand with the participation of the Samaleños, this will be a collective effort to provide a healthy tourism destination,” Escobal explained.

IGaCos Mayor Al David Uy welcomed the plan of the PNP saying the presence of the tourist police will further add the confidence of the visitors and will strengthen the security of the island.

Uy said that  his city hosts 1.5 million tourist annually and strengthening the existing security system will also  bolster tourism confidence in the island.”

It can be recalled that in February this year, the IGACOS Police Station Advisory Council passed a resolution  requesting the establishment of a tourist police unit in the island to augment the current number of police securing the place.

The establishment of Tourist Police is embodied under Section 100 of Republic Act (RA) 9593 or the Tourism Act of 2009 which tasks the Philippine National Police (PNP) to establish a Tourism Security Force to assist in maintaining peace and order within areas of high tourism traffic.

The same law mandates the  Department of Tourism (DOT) to  coordinate with the Department of Interior and Local Government (DILG)   for police personnel to undergo a training for the purpose specifically outlining the cultural practices of the host community and other laws applicable to tourism industry.

The PNP, according to Escobal will provide the personnel while the DOT facilitates and provides the training module and other requirement for the said purpose. “The tourist police unit is a separate unit composed  of a platoon of personnel, but are ready for that provision,” he added.

The establishment of a Tourist Police center requires the approval of the National Police Commission and clearance from the PNP general headquarters, but Escobal said that he will closely coordinate the proposal with concerned agencies.

The unit will also coordinate with the concerned police stations in monitoring and investigating all cases involving tourists and serve as a facility for tourist information services. Escobal, however, noted that the matter has already been disussed with the national headquarters a week ago but was told to activate tourist police in an interim status since this will require a longer process.

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