Police issue traffic, crime safety tips for holiday season in Baguio

BAGUIO CITY – The Baguio City Police Office traffic and operations division chiefs on Tuesday issued safety tips for both residents and tourists planning to spend their Christmas vacation in the city.

BCPO Traffic Division Chief Insp. Oliver Panabang advised residents and tourists to leave their vehicles at home or at their accommodations and instead commute or walk to their destinations.

"That's the way to do it if you want to enjoy your stay in the city because if you will insist in using your service vehicles, then you must be ready to get stuck in traffic," Panabang warned.

The exodus of tourists into the city during the holidays had caused heavy traffic congestion in the city in the past years.

This prompted the city police to continue revising and devising schemes to ease the situation.

City Resolution 400-17 requires owners and managers of hotels, inns, condominiums and transient houses in the city to support the advocacy by reminding their guests to leave their vehicles and make use of public utility vehicles in touring the city.

Panabang said there are around 44,000 vehicles plying the city's streets as against the only 3,000 plus parking slots available.

The number of vehicles doubles when tourists arrive so the road situation becomes more complicated.

He also reminded commuters to be conscious of their belongings to prevent leaving them in taxi cabs or if not, take note of the celfone number written in the body of the taxi for easy tracing.

"Policemen devote too much time to tracing these belongings yet we cannot complain because it is part of our job. We just feel that the time spent in following up these incidents could have been used in other more urgent cases," he said.

For his part, Operations Division Chief Johnny Balaki advised residents and visitors to also be mindful of their security while in the city.

"We ourselves should take care of our own belongings especially since thieves take advantage of special occasions where there are more people.

"When you join crowds, make sure that your things are secured. When leaving the house, make sure that it is secure, all doors and gates are locked. Be wary of tricks like budol-budol," Balaki said.

Acting City Police Director Eliseo Tanding said they have prepared special operation schemes for the holidays to mitigate crimes.

A total of 200 men will be deployed to be augmented by force multipliers in the different barangays.

The city police devise strategies according to the requirements of the activity or occasion set in the city, according to Panabang.

"We appeal to the people to cooperate with these traffic measures and please do respect our traffic rules," he said. – Aileen P. Refuerzo

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