By Aaron Recuenco
The entire police force in Metro Manila was placed under highest security alert status as the annual exodus for the long Lenten break began Wednesday.
Police Maj. Gen. Guillermo Eleazar, director of the National Capital Region Police (NCRPO), said the full alert status took effect at 12:01 pm Wednesday when they expect the number of motorists and passengers to swell at the bus terminals, airports and seaports, and major thoroughfares.
“This means that all our leaves are cancelled, the shifting of our duty are extended and that we will all work double to ensure the safety of the public,” said Eleazar.
The afternoon work of government workers on Wednesday was already cancelled by Malacanang and the Supreme Court to give them time to prepare for the expected travel to the provinces.
Thousands of people usually go to their respective provinces to observe the Lenten Season and at the same time, take advantage of the long weekend for family vacation and class reunions.
Eleazar said they have already started deploying personnel at the bus terminals and seaports and airports to assist the passengers who would opt to leave early to avoid the rush.
Police assistance desks, he said, were already set up in areas where passengers are expected to converge, as well as the churches and public places in Metro Manila.
“We elevated our alert status from heightened to full alert in order to maximize the manpower we have in assisting the passengers and motorists and attend to their needs and complaints,” said Eleazar.
The official said they also coordinated with barangay officials in securing residential areas, some of the residents are expected to leave their houses for the long break.
The NCRPO is expected to maintain the full alert status until Monday when those who left for the provinces start to return to Metro Manila as early as Sunday.