By MORTZ C. ORTIGOZA
MANAOAG – Despite a meager number of policemen to watch the law and order of this pilgrimage town, the top cop here through sheer chutzpah maintains a zero crime incident vis-à-vis the roughly a million of devotees that swarm the shrine of Our Lady of the Rosary of Manaoag in the Holy Week.
Police Chief Inspector Edison Revita, who became the chief of police here in September last year, said that with the 17,000 and a roughly million of devotees in ordinary day and Holy Week, respectively, that influx the Shrine, he has to think doable security measures as the sheer volume of devotees became a security nightmare for his 46 policemen.
Force Multiplier from Civilians
“My initial action is to organize the groups of civilians in the Shrine that include all ambulant vendors, parking assistant, and transport groups (TODA),” stressed by Revita who is a member of class 2001 of the Philippine National Police Academy.
From these organizations he enlisted responsible members as informant that would sleuth suspicious characters before they could pounce with their dastardly acts innocent people of this first class town.
“The onset of this effort resulted in the positive feedback that the group became motivated to cooperate with the Manaoag PNP”.
Because of the initiative where civilian volunteers galvanizing his meager intelligence arsenal, the Philippine National Police here is reaping a zero crime rate within the area.
Infusion of Moral Recovery with the Police
One of the measures he explained that brought the zero crime rates was the infusion of spiritual moral recovery with his law enforcers so some of them would not become scalawag.
“On March 11, 2014 the Manaoag Police Station and the United Manaoag Fellowship Incorporated (UMFI) entered into a Memorandum of Agreement (MOA) where the UMFI which is composed of Christian churches and is a civic spiritual organization will work in partnership with the police in discussing about peace and order, public safety, security, and moral recovery,” he explained.
Revita said UMFI conducted weekly moral recovery program to the policemen with Bible study and counseling.
“In return, I and my policemen conducted seminar workshops about crime and drug prevention to all members of the congregation. We emphasized that public safety is everyone’s concern and encourages everyone to report any criminal activity in this area.
Because of this quid pro quo with these 12 Christian organizations, the members of the PNP here become more morally upright and discipline.
“This is manifested by the fact that not a single personnel is charged of any irregularity in the performance of their duty”.
Million Visitors but Zero Crime Rates
In this Holy Week the mettle of Revita and his men have been tested again despite the outpouring of million of devotees in the four- day Christian affairs.
“During the Holy Week almost a million visitors came here and we have zero crime incidents. We made that happened because of the support of the stakeholders, local government unit, church, and force multipliers that include the vendors, TODA, drivers, etc,” Revita proudly narrated to this paper.